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Full text of "Mr. Maugham himself"

UNIVERSITY 
OF FLORIDA 
LIBRARIES 




MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



MR. 

MAUGHAM 

HIMSELF 



hy 

W. SOMERSET 
MAUGHAM 



^ 



Selected by John Beecroft 



DOUBLEDAY & COMPANY, INC. 

Garden City, New York 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Numher: 54-1115:6 



COPYRIGHT, 1954, BY W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES 



Contents 




WM 




Introduction ix 
OF HUMAN BONDAGE i 

FOUR SHORT PIECES 

Some Novelists I Have Knowt^ 447 

(from The Vagrant Mood) 

Mr. Harrington's Washing 470 

(from Ashenden) 

The Book Bag 495 

(from Ah King) 

El Greco 519 

(from Don Fernando) 

THESUMMINGUP 539 

From A Writer's Notebook 680 



Introduction 




WHY MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF? 



AF E w DAYS after Somerset 
Maugham's eightieth birthday 
I was lunching with Milton 
Runyon of Doubleday. We talked 
about the tributes Mr. Maugham had 
received on his anniversary, how well 
deserved they were and what pleasure 
that acclaim must have given him. I 
said it was time a collection of 
Maugham's writings should be made 
which would represent him at his best. 
Mr. Runyon asked what I thought 
should be included in a definitive 
Maugham anthology. Because I have 
been an admirer of Maugham's writing 
ever since I was able to read, I knew 
what I would like to see in such a 
book: two or three novels, several 
short stories, maybe a play, the auto- 
biographical pieces, some essays and 
parts of his famous introductions. 
About a week after that luncheon, 
Ken McCormick, Mr. Maugham's 
editor, phoned me. He liked the idea 
and asked me to give him my proposed 
list of contents. 

We discussed the titles I wanted to 
include and everything seemed to be 
settled most satisfactorily. But we 
found our enthusiasm had been so 
great that we had forgotten to be 
practical. A volume with that much 
material would be too heavy to lift. 



Some titles would have to be elimi- 
nated. There were very few I wanted 
to drop from my original list and there 
seemed little point in compiling such 
a volume within such mechanical 
limitations. Mr. Maugham had already 
made a fine anthology of his work in 
The Maugham Reader; another could 
only prove to be a needless repetition 
—with some variations. Regretfully, I 
gave up the project of an anthology 
representing what I considered the 
best of Maugham's work. 

Mr. Maugham's books have been 
on my bedside table for years. One 
night, shortly after making this reluc- 
tant decision, I found this question in 
his admirable introduction to Tellers 
of Tales: "For what in the long run 
has the vsnriter to give you?" Mr. 
Maugham's answer was: "Himself." 
This gave me a new plan for another 
kinifof book and, incidentally, its title. 
>3fne new book was not designed to be 
representative of Maugham's writings; 
instead, it would represent Somerset 
Maugham, himself, in the way he has 
revealed his personality and his life 
through his writings. Certainly to be 
included would be Of Human Bond- 
age—a. novel which Mr. Maugham de- 
scribes as being not autobiography, but 
autobiographical; The Summing L7p 



tx 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



was, of course, on my list, for in that 
he speaks with utter frankness about 
his innermost thoughts. The play I 
had intended to include, I was con- 
tent to omit; but there would be 
shorter pieces representing him in dif- 
ferent moods. The whole was to be a 
kind of composite autobiography, since 
Mr. Maugham has not yet written one 
himself. 

Mr. Maugham has always been a 
superb storyteller. He has repeatedly 
stated that the purpose of a story is 
to entertain. He has prided himself, 
not on the art of his writing, but on 
his craftsmanship; and, in being the 
best craftsman he could, he became a 
great artist. His oft-repeated formula 
that a story should have "a beginning, 
a middle and an end'* together with 
his belief that art should communi- 
cate, has won for him hundreds of 
thousands of devoted readers all over 
the world. 

Anyone who has not read Maugham's 
short stories, now collected in the two 
volumes East and West and The 
World Over, has missed a pleasure 
that can be savored again and again. 
Though Of Human Bondage is gen- 
erally regarded as his best novel, Mr. 
Maugham himself votes for Cakes and 
Ale. Three of my favorites are The 



Moon and Sixpence, Christmas Holi- 
day and The Painted Veil. 

It makes me happy to remember the 
hours I spent helping to refinish the 
desk on which Mr. Maugham wrote 
The Razors Edge, a novel which was 
a huge success and was made into an 
absorbing movie. Anyone who liked 
The Summing Uf should read A 
Writer's Notebook; I have included 
a portion of this because it reveals the 
author's thoughts which are haunting 
in their intensity, and we know that 
Mr. Maugham would not have al- 
lowed them to be published if they 
did not reflect his true feelings. 

It is pointless to vmte more about 
Mr. Maugham when he is so well able 
to speak for himself. Included in this 
volume are the writings which bring 
him close to his readers. In choosing 
the autobiographical writings, I feel 
I have been able to present a better 
book than was originally planned and, 
at the same time, the purpose of the 
proposed volume has been accom- 
plished. Mr. Maugham is still repre- 
sented at his best. 

JOHN BEECROFT 

June lo, 19 S4 

Glen Cove, Long Island 

New York 



of H 



uman oon 



B. 





FOREWORD 



This is a very long novel and I am 
ashamed to make it longer by writing 
a preface to it. An author is probably 
the last person who can write fitly 
about his own work. In this connection 
an instructive story is told by Roger 
Martin du Gard, a distinguished 
French novelist, about Marcel Proust. 
Proust wanted a certain French peri- 
odical to publish an important article 
on his great novel and thinking that 
no one could write it better than he, 
sat down and wrote it himself. Then 
he asked a young friend of his, a man 
of letters, to put his name to it and 
take it to the editor. This the young 
man did, but after a few days the 
editor sent for him. "I must refuse 
your article,'* he told him. "Marcel 
Proust would never forgive me if I 
printed a criticism of his work that 
was so perfunctory and so unsympa- 
thetic." Though authors are touchy 
about their productions and inclined 
to resent unfavourable criticism they 
are seldom self-satisfied. They are mis- 
erably conscious how far the work on 
which they have spent much time and 
trouble comes short of their concep- 
tion and when they consider it they 
are much more vexed with their fail- 
ure to express this in its completeness 



than pleased with the passages here 
and there that they can regard with 
complacency. Their aim is perfection 
and they are wretchedly aware that 
they have not attained it. 

I will say nothing then about my 
book itself, but will content myself 
with telling the reader of these lines 
how a novel that has now had a fairly 
long life, as novels go, came to be 
written; and if it does not interest him 
I ask him to forgive me. I wrote it 
first when, at the age of twenty-three, 
having taken my medical degrees after 
five years at St. Thomas's Hospital, I 
went to Seville determined to earn my 
living as a writer. The manuscript of 
the book I wrote then still exists, but 
I have not looked at it since I corrected 
the t5^escript and I have no doubt 
that it is very immature. I sent it to 
Fisher Unwin, who had published my 
first book (while still a medical stu- 
dent I had published a novel called 
Liza of Lamheth, which had had 
something of a success), but he re- 
fused to give me the hundred pounds 
I wanted for it and none of the other 
publishers to whom I afterwards sub- 
mitted it would have it at any price. 
This distressed me at the time, but 
now I know that I was very fortunate; 



Copyrigjkt, 1936, hy Douhleday & Company, Inc. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



for if one of them had taken my book 
(it was called The Artistic Tempera- 
ment of Stephen Carey^ I should 
have lost a subject which I was too 
young to make proper use of. I was 
not far enough away from the events 
I described to use them properly and I 
had not had a nimiber of experiences 
which later went to enrich the book I 
finally wrote. Nor had I learnt that it 
is easier to write of what you know 
than of what you don't. For instance, 
I sent my hero to Rouen (which I 
knew only as an occasional visitor) to 
learn French, instead of to Heidelberg 
(where I had been myself) to learn 
German. 

Thus rebuffed I put the manu- 
script away. I wrote other novels, 
which were published, and I wrote 
plays. I became a very successful play- 
wright and determined to devote the 
rest of my life to the drama. But I 
reckoned without a force within me 
that made my resolutions vain. I was 
happy, I was prosperous, I was busy. 
My head was full of the plays I 
wanted to write. I do not know 
whether it was that success did not 
bring me all I had expected or whether 
it was a natural reaction from it, but 
■^I was but just firmly established as the 
most popular dramatist of the day 
when I began once more to be ob- 
sessed by the teeming memories of my 
past life. They came back to me so 
pressingly, in my sleep, on my walks, 
at rehearsals, at parties, they became 
such a burden to me, that I made up 
my mind there was only one way to 
be free of them and that was to write 
them all down in a bool^.\ After sub- 
mitting myself for some years to the 
exigencies of the drama I hankered 
after the wide liberty of the novel. I 
knew the book I had in mind would 
be a long one and I wanted to be 
undisturbed, so I refused the contracts 
that managers were eagerly offering 



me and temporarily retired from the 
stage. I was then thirty-seven. 

For long after I became a writer by 
profession I spent much time on learn- 
ing how to write and subjected myself 
to very tiresome training in the en- 
deavour to improve my style. But 
these efforts I abandoned when my 
plays began to be produced and when 
I started to write again it was with 
different aims. I no longer sought a 
jewelled prose and a rich texture, on 
unavailing attempts to achieve which 
I had formerly wasted much labour; 
I sought on the contrary plainness and 
simplicity. With so much that I 
wanted to say within reasonable limits 
I felt that I could not afford to waste 
words and I set out now with the 
notion of using only such as were 
necessary to make my meaning clear. 
I had no space for ornament. My ex- 
perience in the theatre had taught me 
the value of succinctness and the dan- 
ger of beating about the bush. I 
worked unremittingly for two years. I 
did not know what to call my book 
and after looking about a great deal 
hit upon Beauty from. Ashes, a quota- 
tion from Isaiah which seemed to me 
apposite; but learning that this title 
had been recently used was obliged to 
search for another. I chose finally the 
name of one of the books in Spinoza's 
Ethics and called it Of Human Bond- 
age. I have a notion I was once more 
lucky in finding that I could not use 
tbi first title I had thought of. 
J^' Of Human Bondage is not an auto- 
Diography, but an autobiographical 
novel; fact and fiction are inextricably 
mingled; the emotions are my own, 
but not all the incidents are related as 
they happened and some of them are 
transferred to my hero not from my 
own life but from that of persons with 
whom I was intimate.. The book did 
for me what I wanted and when it was 
issued to the world! (a world in the 



, 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



throes of a dreadful war and too much 
concerned with its own sufferings and 
fears to bother with th,e adventures of 
a creature of fiction )y I found myself 
free forever from the pains and un- 
happy recollections that had tormented 
me'^ ut was very well reviewed; Theo- 
dore Dreiser wrote for The New Re- 
public a long criticism in which he 
dealt with it with the intelligence and 
sympathy which distinguish everything 
he has ever written; but it looked very 
much as though it would go the way of 
the vast majority of novels and be for- 
gotten forever a few months after its 



appearance. But, I do not know 
through what accident, it happened 
after some years that it attracted the 
attention of a number of distinguished 
v^nriters in the United States and the 
references they continued to make to 
it in the press gradually brought it to 
the notice of the public. To these 
writers is due the new lease of Hfe that 
the book was thus given and them 
must I thank for the success it has con- 
tinued increasingly to have as the 
years go by. 

W. S, M. 



TH E day broke gray and dull. The 
clouds hung heavily, and there 
was a rawness in the air that 
suggested snow. A woman servant 
came into a room in which a child 
was sleeping and drew the curtains. 
She glanced mechanically at the house 
opposite, a stucco house with a por- 
tico, and went to the child's bed. 

"Wake up, Philip," she said. 

She pulled down the bed-clothes, 
took him in her arms, and carried him 
downstairs. He was only half awake. 

"Your mother wants you," she said. 

She opened the door of a room on 
the floor below and took the child over 
to a bed in which a woman was lying. 
It was his mother. She stretched out 
her arms, and the child nestled by her 
side. He did not ask why he had been 
awakened. The woman kissed his eyes, 
and with thin, small hands felt the 
warm body through his white flannel 
nightgown. She pressed him closer to 
herself. 

"Are you sleepy, darling^" she said. 



Her voice was so weak that it 
seemed to come already from a great 
distance. The child did not answer, 
but smiled comfortably. He was very 
happy in the large, warm bed, with 
those soft arms about him. He tried to 
make himself smaller still as he cud- 
dled up against his mother, and he 
kissed her sleepily. In a moment he 
closed his eyes and was fast asleep. 
The doctor came forwards and stood 
by the bed-side. 

"Oh, don't take him away yet," she 
moaned. 

The doctor, without answering, 
looked at her gravely. Knowing she 
would not be allowed to keep the 
child much longer, the woman kissed 
him again; and she passed her hand 
down his body till she came to his 
feet; she held the right foot in her 
hand and felt the five small toes; and 
then slowly passed her hand over the 
left one. She gave a sob. 

"What's the matter?" said the doc- 
tor. "You're tired." 



Copyright, igi^,hy Douhleday & Company, Inc. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



She shook her head, unable to 
speak, and the tears rolled down her 
cheeks. The doctor bent down. 

"Let me take him." 

She was too weak to resist his wish, 
and she gave the child up. The doctor 
handed him back to his nurse. 

"You'd better put him back in his 
own bed." 

"Very well, sir." 

The little boy, still sleeping, was 
taken away. His mother sobbed now 
broken-heartedly. 

"What will happen to him, poor 
child?" 

The monthly nurse tried to quiet 
her, and presently, from exhaustion, 
the crying ceased. The doctor walked 
to a table on the other side of the room 
upon which, under a towel, lay the 
body of a still-born child. He Hfted 
the towel and looked. He was hidden 
from the bed by a screen, but the 
woman guessed what he was doing. 

"Was it a girl or a boy?" she whis- 
pered to the nurse. 

"Another boy." 

The woman did not answer. In a 



moment the child's nurse came back. 
She approached the bed. 

"Master Philip never woke up," she 
said. 

There was a pause. Then the doc- 
tor felt his patient's pulse once more. 

"I don't think there's anything I can 
do just now," he said. "I'll call again 
after breakfast." 

"I'll show you out, sir," said the 
child's nurse. 

They walked downstairs in silence. 
In the hall the doctor stopped. 

"You've sent for Mrs. Carey's 
brother-in-law, haven't you?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"D'you know at what time he'll be 
here?" 

"No, sir, I'm expecting a telegram." 

"What about the little boy? I should 
think he'd be better out of the way." 

"Miss Watkin said she'd take him, 
sir." 

"Who's she?" 

"She's his godmother, sir. D'you 
think Mrs. Carey will get over it, sir?" 

The doctor shook his head. 



II 



It was a week later. Philip was 
sitting on the floor in the drawing-room 
at Miss Watkin's house in Onslow Gar- 
dens. He was an only child and used 
to amusing himself. The room was 
filled with massive furniture, and on 
each of the sofas were three big cush- 
ions. There was a cushion too in each 
arm-chair. All these he had taken and, 
with the help of the gilt rout chairs, 
light and easy to move, had made an 
elaborate cave in which he could hide 
himself from the Red Indians who 
were lurking behind the curtains. He 



put his ear to the floor and listened to 
the herd of buffaloes that raced across 
the prairie. Presently, hearing the door 
open, he held his breath so that he 
might not be discovered; but a violent 
hand pulled away a chair and the 
cushions fell down. 

"You naughty boy, Miss Watkin 
will be cross with you." 

"Hulloa, Emma!" he said. 

The nurse bent down and kissed 
him, then began to shake out the cush- 
ions, and put them back in their 
places. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



"Am I to come home?" he asked. 

"Yes, I've come to fetch you." 

"You've got a new dress on." 

It was in eighteen-eighty-five, and 
she wore a bustle. Her gown was of 
black velvet, with tight sleeves and 
sloping shoulders, and the skirt had 
three large flounces. She wore a black 
bonnet with velvet strings. She hesi- 
tated. The question she had expected 
did not come, and so she could not 
give the answer she had prepared. 

"Aren't you going to ask how your 
mamma is?" she said at length. 

"Oh, I forgot. How is manmia?" 

Now she was ready. 

"Your mamma is quite well and 
happy." 

"Oh, I am glad." 

"Your mamma's gone away. You 
won't ever see her any more." 

Philip did not know what she 
meant. 

"Why not?" 

"Your mamma's in heaven." 

She began to cry, and Philip, 
though he did not quite understand, 
cried too. Emma was a tall, big-boned 
woman, with fair hair and large fea- 
tures. She came from Devonshire and, 
notwithstanding her many years of 
service in London, had never lost the 
breadth of her accent. Her tears in- 
creased her emotion, and she pressed 
the little boy to her heart. She felt 
vaguely the pity of that child deprived 
of the only love in the world that is 
quite unselfish. It seemed dreadful 
that he must be handed over to 
strangers. But in a little while she 
pulled herself together. 

"Your Uncle William is waiting in 
to see you," she said. "Go and say 
good-bye to Miss Watkin, and we'll 
go home." 

"I don't want to say good-bye," he 
answered, instinctively anxious to hide 
his tears. 



"Very well, run upstairs and get 
your hat." 

He fetched it, and when he came 
down Emma was waiting for him in 
the hall. He heard the sound of voices 
in the study behind the dining-room. 
He paused. He knew that Miss Watkin 
and her sister were talking to friends, 
and it seemed to him— he was nine 
years old— that if he went in they 
would be sorry for him. 

"I think I'll go and say good-bye to 
Miss Watkin." 

"I think you'd better," said Emma. 

"Go in and tell them I'm coming," 
he said. 

He wished to make the most of his 
opportunity. Emma knocked at the 
door and walked in. He heard her 
speak. 

"Master Philip wants to say good- 
bye to you, miss." 

There was a sudden hush of the 
conversation, and Philip limped in. 
Henrietta Watkin was a stout woman, 
with a red face and dyed hair. In those 
days to dye the hair excited com- 
ment, and Philip had heard much gos- 
sip at home when his godmother's 
changed colour. She lived with an 
elder sister, who had resigned herself 
contentedly to old age. Two ladies, 
whom Philip did not know, were call- 
ing, and they looked at him curiously. 

"My poor child," said Miss Watkin, 
opening her arms. 

She began to cry. Philip understood 
now why she had not been in to 
luncheon and why she wore a black 
dress. She could not speak. 

"I've got to go home," said Philip, 
at last. 

He disengaged himself from Miss 
Watkin's arms, and she kissed him 
again. Then he went to her sister and 
bade her good-bye too. One of the 
strange ladies asked if she might kiss 
him, and he gravely gave her permis- 
sion. Though crying, he keenly en- 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



joyed the sensation he was causing; he 
would have been glad to stay a little 
longer to be made much of, but felt 
they expected him to go, so he said 
that Emma was waiting for him. He 
went out of the room. Emma had gone 
downstairs to speak with a friend in 
the basement, and he waited for her 
on the landing. He heard Henrietta 
Watkin*s voice. 

''His mother was my greatest friend. 
I can't bear to think that she's dead." 



"You oughtn't to have gone to the 
funeral, Henrietta," said her sister. "I 
knew it would upset you." 

Then one of the strangers spoke. 

"Poor little boy, it's dreadful to 
think of him quite alone in the world. 
I see he limps." 

"Yes, he's got a club-foot. It was 
such a grief to his mother." 

Then Emma came back. They 
called a hansom, and she told the 
driver where to go. 



Ill 



When they reached the house Mrs. 
Carey had died in— it was in a dreary, 
respectable street between Notting Hill 
Gate and High Street, Kensington- 
Emma led Philip into the drawing- 
room. His uncle was writing letters of 
thanks for the wreaths which had 
been sent. One of them, which had 
arrived too late for the funeral, lay in 
its cardboard box on the hall-table. 

"Here's Master Philip," said Emma. 

Mr. Carey stood up slowly and 
shook hands with the little boy. Then 
on second thoughts he bent down and 
kissed his forehead. He was a man of 
somewhat less than average height, in- 
clined to corpulence, with his hair, 
worn long, arranged over the scalp so 
as to conceal his baldness. Pie was 
clean-shaven. His features were regu- 
lar, and it was possible to imagine that 
in his youth he had been good-look- 
ing. On his watch-chain he wore a 
gold cross. 

"You're going to live with me now, 
Philip," said Mr. Carey. "Shall you 
like that^" 

Two years before Philip had been 
sent down to stay at the vicarage after 
an attack of chicken-pox; but there re- 
mained with him a recollection of an 



attic and a large garden rather than of 
his uncle and aunt. 

"Yes." 

"You must look upon me and your 
Aunt Louisa as your father and 
mother." 

The child's mouth trembled a little, 
he reddened, but did not answer. 

"Your dear mother left you in my 
charge." 

Mr. Carey had no great ease in ex- 
pressing himself. When the news 
came that his sister-in-law was dying, 
he set off at once for London, but on 
the way thought of nothing but the 
disturbance in his life that would be 
caused if her death forced him to 
undertake the care of her son. He was 
well over fifty, and his wife, to whom 
he had been married for thirty years, 
was childless; he did not look forward 
with any pleasure to the presence of a 
small boy who might be noisy and 
rough. He had never much liked his 
sister-in-law. 

"I'm going to take you down to 
Blackstable tomorrow," he said. 

"With Emma?" 

The child put his hand in hers, 
and she pressed it. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



"I'm afraid Emma must go away," 
said Mr. Carey. 

"But I want Emma to come with 
me." 

Philip began to cry, and the nurse 
could not help crying too. Mr. Carey 
looked at them helplessly. 

"I think you'd better leave me alone 
with Master Philip for a moment." 

"Very good, sir." 

Though Philip clung to her, she 
released herself gently. Mr. Carey took 
the boy on his knee and put his arm 
around him. 

"You mustn't cry," he said. "You're 
too old to have a nurse now. We must 
see about sending you to school." 

"I want Emma to come with me," 
the child repeated. 

"It costs too much money, Philip. 
Your father didn't leave very much, 
and I don't know what's become of it. 
You must look at every penny you 
spend." 

Mr. Carey had called the day before 
on the family solicitor. Philip's father 
was a surgeon in good practice, and 
his hospital appointments suggested an 
established position; so that it was a 
surprise on his sudden death from 
blood-poisoning to find that he had 
left his widow little more than his life 
insurance and what could be got for 
the lease of their house in Bruton 
Street. This was six months ago; and 
Mrs. Carey, already in delicate health, 
finding herself with child, had lost her 
head and accepted for the lease the 
first offer that was made. She stored 
her furniture, and, at a rent which the 
parson thought outrageous, took a fur- 
nished house for a year, so that she 
might suffer from no inconvenience 
till her child was born. But she had 
never been used to the management of 
money, and was unable to adapt her 
expenditure to her altered circum- 
stances. The little she had slipped 
through her fingers in one way and 



another, so that now, when all ex- 
penses were paid, not much more than 
two thousand pounds remained to sup- 
port the boy till he was able to earn 
his own living. It was impossible to 
explain all this to Philip and he was 
sobbing still. 

"You'd better go to Emma," Mr. 
Carey said, feeling that she could con- 
sole the child better than anyone. 

Without a word Philip slipped off 
his uncle's knee, but Mr. Carey 
stopped him. 

"We must go tomorrow, because on 
Saturday I've got to prepare my ser- 
mon, and you must tell Enmia to get 
your things ready today. You can 
bring all your toys. And if you want 
anything to remember your father and 
mother by you can take one thing for 
each of them. Everything else is going 
to be sold." 

The boy slipped out of the room. 
Mr. Carey was unused to work, and he 
turned to his correspondence with re- 
sentment. On one side of the desk was 
a bundle of bills, and these filled him 
with irritation. One especially seemed 
preposterous. Immediately after Mrs. 
Carey's death Emma had ordered from 
the florist masses of white flowers for 
the room in which the dead woman 
lay. It was sheer waste of money. 
Emma took far too much upon herself. 
Even if there had been no financial 
necessity, he would have dismissed 
her. 

But Philip went to her, and hid 
his face in her bosom, and wept as 
though his heart would break. And 
she, feeling that he was almost her 
own son— she had taken him when he 
was a month old— consoled him with 
soft words. She promised that she 
would come and see him sometimes, 
and that she would never forget him; 
and she told him about the country he 
was going to and about her own home 
in Devonshire— her father kept a turn- 



8 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



pike on the highroad that led to 
Exeter, and there were pigs in the sty, 
and there was a cow, and the cow had 
just had a calf— till Philip forgot his 
tears and grew excited at the thought 
of his approaching journey. Presently 
she put him down, for there was much 
to be done, and he helped her to lay 
out his clothes on the bed. She sent 
him into the nursery to gather up his 
toys, and in a little while he was play- 
ing happily. 

But at last he grew tired of being 
alone and went back to the bed-room, 
in which Emma was now putting his 
things into a big tin box; he remem- 
bered then that his uncle had said he 
might take something to remember his 
father and mother by. He told Emma 
and asked her what he should take. 

"You'd better go into the drawing- 
room and see what you fancy." 

"Uncle William's there." 

"Never mind that. They're your 
own things now." 

Philip went downstairs slowly and 
found the door open. Mr. Carey had 
left the room. Philip walked slowly 
round. They had been in the house 
so short a time that there was Httle in 
it that had a particular interest to him. 
It was a stranger's room, and Philip 
saw nothing that struck his fancy. But 
he knew which were his mother's 
things and which belonged to the land- 
lord, and presently fixed on a little 
clock that he had once heard his 
mother say she liked. With this he 
walked again rather disconsolately up- 
stairs. Outside the door of his mother's 
bed-room he stopped and listened. 
Though no one had told him not to 
go in, he had a feeling that it would 
be wrong to do so; he was a little 
frightened, and his heart beat uncom- 
fortably; but at the same time some- 



thing impelled him to turn the handle. 
He turned it very gently, as if to pre- 
vent anyone within from hearing, and 
then slowly pushed the door open. He 
stood on the threshold for a moment 
before he had the courage to enter. He 
was not frightened now, but it seemed 
strange. He closed the door behind 
him. The blinds were drawn, and the 
room, in the cold light of a January 
afternoon, was dark. On the dressing- 
table were Mrs. Carey's brushes and 
the hand mirror. In a little tray were 
hairpins. There was a photograph of 
himself on the chimney-piece and one 
of his father. He had often been in 
the room when his mother was not in 
it, but now it seemed different. There 
was something curious in the look of 
the chairs. The bed was made as 
though someone were going to sleep 
in it that night, and in a case on the 
pillow was a night-dress. 

Phihp opened a large cupboard 
filled with dresses and stepping in, 
took as many of them as he could in 
his arms and buried his face in them. 
They smelt of the scent his mother 
used. Then he pulled open the 
drawers, filled with his mother's things, 
and looked at them: there were lav- 
ender bags among the linen, and their 
scent was fresh and pleasant. The 
strangeness of the room left it, and it 
seemed to him that his mother had 
just gone out for a walk. She would 
be in presently and would come up- 
stairs to have nursery tea with him. 
And he seemed to feel her kiss on his 
lips. 

It was not true that he would never 
see her again. It was not true simply 
because it was impossible. He climbed 
up on the bed and put his head on 
the pillow. He lay there quite still. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



IV 



Philip parted from Emma with 
tears, but the journey to Blackstable 
amused him, and, when they arrived, 
he was resigned and cheerful. Black- 
stable was sixty miles from London. 
Giving their luggage to a porter, Mr. 
Carey set out to walk with Philip to 
the vicarage; it took them little more 
than five minutes, and, when they 
reached it, Philip suddenly remem- 
bered the gate. It was red and five- 
barred: it swung both ways on easy 
hinges; and it was possible, though for- 
bidden, to swing backwards and for- 
wards on it. They walked through the 
garden to the front-door. This was only 
used by visitors and on Sundays, and 
on special occasions, as when the Vicar 
went up to London or came back. The 
trafi&c of the house took place through 
a side-door, and there was a back door 
as well for the gardener and for beg- 
gars and tramps. It was a fairly large 
house of yellow brick, with a red roof, 
built about five and twenty years before 
in an ecclesiastical style. The front- 
door was like a church porch, and the 
drawing-room windows were gothic. 

Mrs. Carey, knowing by what train 
they were coming, waited in the draw- 
ing-room and listened for the click of 
the gate. When she heard it she went 
to the door. 

"There's Aunt Louisa," said Mr. 
Carey, when he saw her. "Run and 
give her a kiss." 

Philip started to run, awkwardly, 
trailing his club-foot, and then 
stopped. Mrs. Carey was a little, 
shrivelled woman of the same age as 
her husband, with a face extraordi- 
narily filled with deep wrinkles, and 
pale blue eyes. Her gray hair was ar- 



ranged in ringlets according to the 
fashion of her youth. She wore a black 
dress, and her only ornament was a 
gold chain, from which hung a cross. 
She had a shy manner and a gentle 
voice. 

"Did you walk, William?" she said, 
almost reproachfully, as she kissed her 
husband. 

"I didn't think of it," he answered, 
with a glance at his nephew. 

"It didn't hurt you to walk, Philip, 
did it?" she asked the child. 

"No. I always walk." 

He was a little surprised at their 
conversation. Aunt Louisa told him to 
come in, and they entered the hall. It 
was paved with red and yellow tiles, 
on which alternately were a Greek 
Cross and the Lamb of God. An im- 
posing staircase led out of the hall. It 
was of pohshed pine, with a peculiar 
smell, and had been put in because 
fortunately, when the church was re- 
seated, enough wood remained over. 
The balusters were decorated with 
emblems of the Four Evangelists. 

"I've had the stove lighted as I 
thought you'd be cold after your jour- 
ney," said Mrs. Carey. 

It was a large black stove that stood 
in the hall and was only lighted if the 
weather was very bad and the Vicar 
had a cold. It was not lighted if Mrs. 
Carey had a cold. Coal was expensive. 
Besides, Mary Ann, the maid, didn't 
like fires all over the place. If they 
wanted all them fires they must keep 
a second girl. In the winter Mr. and 
Mrs. Carey lived in the dining-room so 
that one fire should do, and in the 
summer they could not get out of the 
habit, so the drawing-room was used 



lO 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



only by Mr. Carey on Sunday after- 
noons for his nap. But every Saturday 
he had a fire in the study so that he 
could write his sermon. 

Aunt Louisa took PhiHp upstairs 
and showed him into a tiny bed-room 
that looked out on the drive. Immedi- 
ately in front of the window was a 
large tree, which Philip remembered 
now because the branches were so low 
that it was possible to climb quite high 
up it. 

"A small room for a small boy," 
said Mrs. Carey. "You won't be fright- 
ened at sleeping alone?" 

"Oh, no." 

On his first visit to the vicarage he 
had come with his nurse, and Mrs. 
Carey had had little to do with him. 
She looked at him now with some un- 
certainty. 

"Can you wash your own hands, or 
shall I wash them for you?" 

"I can wash myself," he answered 
firmly. 

"Well, I shall look at them when 
you come down to tea," said Mrs. 
Carey. 

She knew nothing about children. 
After it was settled that Philip should 
come down to Blackstable, Mrs. Carey 
had thought much how she should 
treat him; she was anxious to do her 
duty; but now he was there she found 
herself just as shy of him as he was of 
her. She hoped he would not be noisy 
and rough, because her husband did 
not like rough and noisy boys. Mrs. 
Carey made an excuse to leave Philip 
alone, but in a moment came back and 
knocked at the door; she asked him, 
without coming in, if he could pour 
out the water himself. Then she went 
downstairs and rang the bell for tea. 

The dining-room, large and well- 
proportioned, had windows on two 
sides of it, with heavy curtains of red 
rep; there was a big table in the mid- 
dle; and at one end an imposing 



mahogany sideboard with a looking- 
glass in it. In one corner stood a har- 
monium. On each side of the fireplace 
were chairs covered in stamped leather, 
each with an antimacassar; one had 
arms and was called the husband, and 
the other had none and was called the 
wife. Mrs. Carey never sat in the arm- 
chair: she said she preferred a chair 
that was not too comfortable; there was 
always a lot to do, and if her chair 
had had arms she might not be so 
ready to leave it. 

Mr. Carey was making up the fire 
when Philip came in, and he pointed 
out to his nephew that there were two 
pokers. One was large and bright and 
polished and unused, and was called 
the Vicar; and the other, which was 
much smaller and had evidently 
passed through many fires, was called 
the Curate. 

"What are we waiting for?" said 
Mr. Carey. 

"I told Mary Ann to make you an 
egg. I thought you'd be hungry after 
your journey." 

Mrs. Carey thought the journey 
from London to Blackstable very tir- 
ing. She seldom travelled herself, for 
the living was only three hundred a 
year, and, when her husband wanted 
a hoHday, since there was not money 
for two, he went by himself. He was 
very fond of Church Congresses and 
usually managed to go up to London 
once a year; and once he had been to 
Paris for the exhibition, and two or 
three times to Switzerland. Mary Ann 
brought in the egg, and they sat down. 
The chair was much too low for 
Philip, and for a moment neither Mr. 
Carey nor his wife knew what to do. 

"I'll put some books under him," 
said Mary Ann. 

She took from the top of the har- 
monium the large Bible and the 
prayer-book from which the Vicar 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



II 



was accustomed to read prayers, and 
put them on Philip's chair, 

"Oh, WiHiam, he can't sit on the 
Bible," said Mrs. Carey, in a shocked 
tone. "Couldn't you get him some 
books out of the study?" 

Mr. Carey considered the question 
for an instant. 

"I don't think it matters this once if 
you put the prayerbook on the top, 
Mary Ann," he said. "The book of 
Common Prayer is the composition of 
men like ourselves. It has no claim to 
divine authorship." 

"I hadn't thought of that, William," 
said Aunt Louisa. 

Philip perched himself on the 
books, and the Vicar, having said 
grace, cut the top off his egg. 



"There," he said, handing it to 
Philip, "you can eat my top if you 
like." 

Philip would have liked an egg to 
himself, but he was not offered one, so 
took what he could. 

"How have the chickens been lay- 
ing since I went away?" asked the 
Vicar. 

"Oh, they've been dreadful, only 
one or two a day." 

"How did you like that top, Philip?" 
asked his uncle. 

"Very much, thank you." 

"You shall have another one on 
Sunday afternoon." 

Mr. Carey always had a boiled egg 
at tea on Sunday, so that he might be 
fortified for the evening service. 



V 



Philip came gradually to know the 
people he was to live with, and by 
fragments of conversation, some of it 
not meant for his ears, learned a good 
deal both about himself and about his 
dead parents. Philip's father had been 
much younger than the Vicar of 
Blackstable. After a brilliant career at 
St. Luke's Hospital he was put on the 
staff, and presently began to earn 
money in considerable sums. He 
spent it freely. When the parson set 
about restoring his church and asked 
his brother for a subscription, he was 
surprised by receiving a couple of hun- 
dred pounds: Mr. Carey, thrifty by 
inclination and economical by neces- 
sity, accepted it with mingled feelings; 
he was envious of his brother because 
he could afford to give so much, 
pleased for the sake of his church, 
and vaguely irritated by a generosity 
which seemed almost ostentatious. 
Then Henry Carey married a patient, 



a beautiful girl but penniless, an or- 
phan with no near relations, but of 
good family; and there was an array 
of fine friends at the wedding. The 
parson, on his visits to her when he 
came to London, held himself with 
reserve. He felt shy with her and in 
his heart he resented her great beauty : 
she dressed more magnificently than 
became the wife of a hardworking 
surgeon; and the charming furniture 
of her house, the flowers among 
which she lived even in winter, sug- 
gested an extravagance which he de- 
plored. He heard her talk of enter- 
tainments she was going to; and, as 
he told his wife on getting home 
again, it was impossible to accept hos- 
pitality without making some return. 
He had seen grapes in the dining-room 
that must have cost at least eight shil- 
lings a pound; and at luncheon he had 
been given asparagus two months be- 
fore it was ready in the vicarage garden. 



12 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Now all he had anticipated was come 
to pass: the Vicar felt the satisfaction 
of the prophet who saw fire and brim- 
stone consume the city which would 
not mend its way to his warning. Poor 
Philip was practically penniless, and 
what was the good of his mother's fine 
friends nowi' He heard that his father's 
extravagance was really criminal, and it 
was a mercy that Providence had seen 
fit to take his dear mother to itself: she 
had no more idea of money than a 
child. 

When Philip had been a week at 
Blackstable an incident happened 
which seemed to irritate his uncle 
very much. One morning he found 
on the breakfast table a small packet 
which had been sent on by post from 
the late Mrs. Carey's house in Lon- 
don. It was addressed to her. When 
the parson opened it he found a 
dozen photographs of Mrs. Carey. 
They showed the head and shoulders 
only, and her hair was more plainly 
done than usual, low on the fore- 
head, which gave her an unusual 
look; the face was thin and worn, 
but no illness could impair the beauty 
of her features. There was in the 
large dark eyes a sadness which Philip 
did not remember. The first sight of 
the dead woman gave Mr. Carey a 
httle shock, but this was quickly fol- 
lowed by perplexity. The photographs 
seemed quite recent, and he could 
not imagine who had ordered them. 

"D'you know anything about these, 
Phihp/' he asked. 

"I remember mamma said she'd 
been taken," he answered. "Miss Wat- 
kin scolded her. . . . She said: I 
wanted the boy to have something 
to remember me by when he grows 
up." 

Mr. Carey looked at Philip for an 
instant. The child spoke in a clear 
treble. He recalled the words, but they 
meant nothing to him. 



"You'd better take one of the photo- 
graphs and keep it in your room," 
said Mr. Carey. "I'll put the others 
away." 

He sent one to Miss Watkin, and 
she wrote and explained how they 
came to be taken. 

One day Mrs. Carey was lying in 
bed, but she was feeling a little better 
than usual, and the doctor in the 
morning had seemed hopeful; Emma 
had taken the child out, and the 
maids were downstairs in the base- 
ment; suddenly Mrs. Carey felt des- 
perately alone in the world. A great 
fear seized her that she would not 
recover from the confinement which 
she was expecting in a fortnight. Her 
son was nine years old. How could 
he be expected to remember her? She 
could not bear to think that he would 
grow up and forget, forget her ut- 
terly; and she had loved him so pas- 
sionately, because he was weakly and 
deformed, and because he was her 
child. She had no photographs of her- 
self taken since her marriage, and that 
was ten years before. She wanted her 
son to know what she looked like at 
the end. He could not forget her then, 
not forget utterly. She knew that if 
she called her maid and told her she 
wanted to get up, the maid would 
prevent her, and perhaps send for the 
doctor, and she had not the strength 
now to struggle or argue. She got out 
of bed and began to dress herself. She 
had been on her back so long that 
her legs gave way beneath her, and 
then the soles of her feet tingled so 
that she could hardly bear to put 
them to the ground. But she went 
on. She was unused to doing her own 
hair and, when she raised her arms 
and began to brush it, she felt faint. 
She could never do it as her maid did. 
It was beautiful hair, very fine, and 
of a deep rich gold. Her eyebrows 
were straight and dark. She put on a 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



13 



black skirt, but chose the bodice of 
the evening dress which she hked 
best: it was of a white damask which 
was fashionable in those days. She 
looked at herself in the glass. Her 
face was very pale, but her skin was 
clear: she had never had much 
colour, and this had always made the 
redness of her beautiful mouth em- 
phatic. She could not restrain a sob. 
But she could not afford to be sorry 
for herself; she was feeling already 
desperately tired; and she put on the 
furs which Henry had given her the 
Christmas before— she had been so 
proud of them and so happy then— 
and shpped downstairs with beating 
heart. She got safely out of the house 
and drove to a photographer. She 
paid for a dozen photographs. She 
was obliged to ask for a glass of water 
in the middle of the sitting; and the 
assistant, seeing she was ill, suggested 
that she should come another day, 
but she insisted on staying till the end. 
At last it was finished, and she drove 
back again to the dingy little house 
in Kensington which she hated with 
all her heart. It was a horrible house 
to die in. 

She found the front-door open, and 
when she drove up the maid and 
Emma ran down the steps to help her. 



They had been frightened when they 
found her room empty. At first they 
thought she must have gone to Miss 
Watkin, and the cook was sent round. 
Miss Watkin came back with her and 
was waiting anxiously in the dravdng- 
room. She came downstairs now full 
of anxiety and reproaches; but the 
exertion had been more than Mrs. 
Carey was fit for, and when the oc- 
casion for firmness no longer existed 
she gave way. She fell heavily into 
Emma's arms and was carried upstairs. 
She remained unconscious for a time 
that seemed incredibly long to those 
that watched her, and the doctor, hur- 
riedly sent for, did not come. It was 
next day, when she was a little better, 
that Miss Watkin got some explana- 
tion out of her. Philip was playing on 
the floor of his mother's bed-room, and 
neither of the ladies paid attention 
to him. He only understood vaguely 
what they were talking about, and he 
could not have said why those words 
remained in his memory. 

"I wanted the boy to have some- 
thing to remember me by when he 
grows up." 

"I can't make out why she ordered 
a dozen," said Mr. Carey. "Two would 
have done." 



VI 



One day was very like another at the 
vicarage. 

Soon after breakfast Mary Ann 
brought in The Times. Mr. Carey 
shared it with two neighbours. He 
had it from ten till one, when the 
gardener took it over to Mr. Ellis at 
the Limes, with whom it remained 
till seven; then it was taken to Miss 
Brooks at the Manor House, who, 



since she got it late, had the advantage 
of keeping it. In summer Mrs. Carey, 
when she was making jam, often 
asked her for a copy to cover the 
pots with. When the Vicar settled 
down to his paper his wife put on her 
bonnet and went out to do the shop- 
ping. Philip accompanied her. Black- 
stable was a fishing village. It con- 
sisted of a high street in which were 



14 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



the shops, the bank, the doctor's house, 
and the houses of two or three coal- 
ship owners; round the Httle harbour 
were shabby streets in which hved 
fishermen and poor people; but since 
they went to chapel they were of no 
account. When Mrs. Carey passed the 
dissenting ministers in the street she 
stepped over to the other side to avoid 
meeting them but if there was not 
time for this fixed her eyes on the 
pavement. It was a scandal to which 
the Vicar had never resigned himself 
that there were three chapels in the 
High Street: he could not help feel- 
ing that the law should have stepped 
in to prevent their erection. Shopping 
in Blackstable was not a simple mat- 
ter; for dissent, helped by the fact 
that the parish church was two miles 
from the town, was very common; 
and it was necessary to deal only with 
churchgoers; Mrs. Carey knew per- 
fectly that the vicarage custom might 
make all the difference to a trades- 
man's faith. There were two butchers 
who went to church, and they would 
not understand that the Vicar could 
not deal with both of them at once; 
nor were they satisfied with his simple 
plan of going for six months to one 
and for six months to the other. The 
butcher who was not sending meat 
to the vicarage constantly threatened 
not to come to church, and the Vicar 
was sometimes obliged to make a 
threat: it was very wrong of him not 
to come to church, but if he carried 
iniquity further and actually went to 
chapel, then of course, excellent as 
his meat was, Mr. Carey would be 
forced to leave him for ever. Mrs. 
Carey often stopped at the bank to 
deliver a message to Josiah Graves, 
the manager, who was choir-master, 
treasurer, and churchwarden. He was 
a tall, thin man with a sallow face 
and a long nose; his hair was very 
white, and to Philip he seemed ex- 



tremely old. He kept the parish ac- 
counts, arranged the treats for the 
choir and the schools; though there 
was no organ in the parish church, it 
was generally considered (in Black- 
stable) that the choir he led was the 
best in Kent; and when there was any 
ceremony, such as a visit from the 
Bishop for confirmation or from the 
Rural Dean to preach at the Harvest 
Thanksgiving, he made the necessary 
preparations. But he had no hesitation 
in doing all manner of things without 
more than a perfunctory consultation 
with the Vicar, and the Vicar, though 
always ready to be saved trouble, much 
resented the churchwarden's managing 
ways. He really seemed to look upon 
himself as the most important person 
in the parish. Mr. Carey constantly 
told his wife that if Josiah Graves did 
not take care he would give him a 
good rap over the knuckles one day; 
but Mrs. Carey advised him to bear 
with Josiah Graves: he meant well, 
and it was not his fault if he was 
not quite a gentleman. The Vicar, 
finding his comfort in the practice of 
a Christian virtue, exercised forbear- 
ance; but he revenged himself by 
calling the churchwarden Bismarck be- 
hind his back. 

Once there had been a serious quar- 
rel between the pair, and Mrs. Carey 
still thought of that anxious time wdth 
dismay. The Conservative candidate 
had announced his intention of ad- 
dressing a meeting at Blackstable; and 
Josiah Graves, having arranged that it 
should take place in the Mission Hall, 
went to Mr. Carey and told him that 
he hoped he would say a few words. 
It appeared that the candidate had 
asked Josiah Graves to take the chair. 
This was more than Mr. Carey could 
put up with. He had firm views upon 
the respect which was due to the 
cloth, and it was ridiculous for a 
churchwarden to take the chair at a 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



15 



meeting when the Vicar was there. He 
reminded Josiah Graves that parson 
meant person, that is, the vicar was 
the person of the parish. Josiah Graves 
answered that he was the first to rec- 
ognise the dignity of the church, but 
this was a matter of pohtics, and in 
his turn he reminded the Vicar that 
their Blessed Saviour had enjoined 
upon them to render unto Caesar the 
things that were Caesar's. To this Mr. 
Carey repHed that the devil could 
quote scripture to his purpose, him- 
self had sole authority over the Mission 
Hall, and if he were not asked to 
be chairman he would refuse the use 
of it for a political meeting. Josiah 
Graves told Mr. Carey that he might 
do as he chose, and for his part he 
thought the Wesleyan Chapel would 
be an equally suitable place. Then 
Mr. Carey said that if Josiah Graves 
set foot in what was little better than 
a heathen temple he was not fit to 
be churchwarden in a Christian parish. 
Josiah Graves thereupon resigned all 
his offices, and that very evening sent 
to the church for his cassock and sur- 
plice. His sister, Miss Graves, who 
kept house for him, gave up her 
secretaryship of the Maternity Club, 
which provided the pregnant poor 
with flannel, baby linen, coals, and 
five shillings. Mr. Carey said he was 
at last master in his own house. But 
soon he found that he was obliged 
to see to all sorts of things that he 
knew nothing about; and Josiah 
Graves, after the first moment of ir- 
ritation, discovered that he had lost 
his chief interest in life. Mrs. Carey 
and Miss Graves were much distressed 
by the quarrel; they met after a dis- 
creet exchange of letters, and made 
up their minds to put the matter 
right: they talked, one to her hus- 
band, the other to her brother, from 
morning till night; and since they were 
persuading these gentlemen to do what 



in their hearts they wanted, after 
three weeks of anxiety a reconciliation 
was effected. It was to both their in- 
terests, but they ascribed it to a com- 
mon love for their Redeemer. The 
meeting was held at the Mission Hall, 
and the doctor was asked to be chair- 
man. Mr. Carey and Josiah Graves 
both made speeches. 

When Mrs. Carey had finished her 
business with the banker, she gen- 
erally went upstairs to have a little 
chat vdth his sister; and while the 
ladies talked of parish matters, the 
curate or the new bonnet of Mrs. 
Wilson— Mr. Wilson was the richest 
man in Blackstable, he was thought 
to have at least five hundred a year, 
and he had married his cook— Philip 
sat demurely in the stiff parlour, used 
only to receive visitors, and busied 
himself with the restless movements 
of goldfish in a bowl. The windows 
were never opened except to air the 
room for a few minutes in the morn- 
ing, and it had a stuffy smell which 
seemed to Philip to have a mysterious 
connection with banking. 

Then Mrs. Carey remembered that 
she had to go to the grocer, and they 
continued their way. When the shop- 
ping was done they often went dovwi 
a side street of little houses, mostly of 
wood, in which fishermen dwelt (and 
here and there a fisherman sat on 
his doorstep mending his nets, and 
nets hung to dry upon the doors), 
till they came to a small beach, shut 
in on each side by warehouses, but 
with a view of the sea. Mrs. Carey 
stood for a few minutes and looked 
at it, it was turbid and yellow, [and 
who knows what thoughts passed 
through her mindr*] while Philip 
searched for flat stones to play ducks 
and drakes. Then they walked slowly 
back. They looked into the post office 
to get the right time, nodded to Mrs. 
Wigram the doctor's wife, who sat at 



i6 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



her window sewing, and so got home. 

Dinner was at one o'clock; and on 
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday it 
consisted of beef, roast, hashed, and 
minced, and on Thursday, Friday, 
and Saturday of mutton. On Sunday 
they ate one of their own chickens. 
In the afternoon Phihp did his les- 
sons. He was taught Latin and mathe- 
matics by his uncle who knew neither, 
and French and the piano by his aunt. 
Of French she was ignorant, but she 
knew the piano well enough to ac- 
company the old-fashioned songs she 
had sung for thirty years. Uncle Wil- 
liam used to tell Philip that when he 
was a curate his wife had known 
twelve songs by heart, which she 
could sing at a moment's notice when- 
ever she was asked. She often sang 
still when there was a tea-party at the 
vicarage. There were few people 
whom the Careys cared to ask there, 
and their parties consisted always of 
the curate, Josiah Graves with his sis- 
ter. Dr. Wigram and his wife. After 
tea Miss Graves played one or two 
of Mendelssohn's Songs without 
Words, and Mrs. Carey sang When 
the Swallows Homeward Fly, or Trot, 
Trot, My Pony. 

But the Careys did not give tea- 
parties often; the preparations upset 
them, and when their guests were 
gone they felt themselves exhausted. 
They preferred to have tea by them- 
selves, and after tea they played back- 
gammon. Mrs. Carey arranged that 
her husband should win, because he 
did not like losing. They had cold 
supper at eight. It was a scrappy meal 
because Mary Ann resented getting 
anything ready after tea, and Mrs. 
Carey helped to clear away. Mrs. 
Carey seldom ate more than bread 
and butter, with a little stewed fruit to 
follow, but the Vicar had a slice of 
cold meat. Immediately after supper 
Mrs. Carey rang the bell for prayers, 



and then Philip went to bed. He re- 
belled against being undressed by 
Mary Ann and after a while suc- 
ceeded in establishing his right to dress 
and undress himself. At nine o'clock 
Mary Ann brought in the eggs and 
the plate. Mrs. Carey wrote the date 
on each egg and put the number 
down in a book. She then took the 
plate-basket on her arm and went 
upstairs. Mr. Carey continued to read 
one of his old books, but as the clock 
struck ten he got up, put out the 
lamps, and followed his wife to bed. 
When Philip arrived there was 
some difficulty in deciding on which 
evening he should have his bath. It 
was never easy to get plenty of hot 
water, since the kitchen boiler did not 
work, and it was impossible for two 
persons to have a bath on the same 
day. The only man who had a bath- 
room in Blackstable was Mr. Wil- 
son, and it was thought ostentatious 
of him. Mary Ann had her bath in 
the kitchen on Monday night, be- 
cause she hked to begin the week 
clean. Uncle William could not have 
his on Saturday, because he had a 
heavy day before him and he was al- 
ways a little tired after a bath, so he 
had it on Friday. Mrs. Carey had 
hers on Thursday for the same reason. 
It looked as though Saturday were 
naturally indicated for Philip, but 
Mary Ann said she couldn't keep the 
fire up on Saturday night: what with 
all the cooking on Sunday, having to 
make pastry and she didn't know what 
all, she did not feel up to giving the 
boy his bath on Saturday night; and 
it was quite clear that he could not 
bath himself. Mrs. Carey was shy 
about bathing a boy, and of course 
the Vicar had his sermon. But the 
Vicar insisted that Philip should be 
clean and sweet for the Lord's Day. 
Mary Ann said she would rather go 
than be put upon— and after eighteen 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



years she didn't expect to have more 
work given her, and they might show 
some consideration— and PhiHp said he 
didn't want anyone to bath him, but 
could very well bath himself. This 
settled it. Mary Ann said she was 
quite sure he wouldn't bath himself 



properly, and rather than he should 
go dirty— and not because he was go- 
ing into the presence of the Lord, but 
because she couldn't abide a boy who 
wasn't properly washed— she'd work 
herself to the bone even if it was 
Saturday night. 



VII 



Sunday was a day crowded with in- 
cident. Mr. Carey was accustomed to 
say that he was the only man in his 
parish who worked seven days a week. 

The household got up half an hour 
earlier than usual. No lying abed for 
a poor parson on the day of rest, Mr. 
Carey remarked as Mary Ann knocked 
at the door punctually at eight. It 
took Mrs. Carey longer to dress, and 
she got down to breakfast at nine, a 
little breathless, only just before her 
husband. Mr. Carey's boots stood in 
front of the fire to warm. Prayers were 
longer than usual, and the breakfast 
more substantial. After breakfast the 
Vicar cut thin slices of bread for the 
communion, and Philip was privileged 
to cut off the crust. He was sent to 
the study to fetch a marble paper- 
weight, with which Mr. Carey pressed 
the bread till it was thin and pulpy, 
and then it was cut into small squares. 
The amount was regulated by the 
weather. On a very bad day few peo- 
ple came to church, and on a very 
fine one, though many came, few 
stayed for communion. There were 
most when it was dry enough to 
make the walk to church pleasant, but 
not so fine that people wanted to 
hurry away. 

Then Mrs. Carey brought the com- 
munion plate out of the safe, which 
stood in the pantry, and the Vicar 
poHshed it with a chamois leather. 



At ten the fly drove up, and Mr. 
Carey got into his boots. Mrs. Carey 
took several minutes to put on her bon- 
net, during which the Vicar, in a 
voluminous cloak, stood in the hall 
with just such an expression on his 
face as would have become an early 
Christian about to be led into the 
arena. It was extraordinary that after 
thirty years of marriage his wife could 
not be ready in time on Sunday morn- 
ing. At last she came, in black satin; 
the Vicar did not like colours in a 
clergyman's wife at any time, but on 
Sundays he was determined that she 
should wear black; now and then, in 
conspiracy with Miss Graves, she ven- 
tured a white feather or a pink rose 
in her bonnet, but the Vicar insisted 
that it should disappear; he said he 
would not go to church with the 
scarlet woman: Mrs. Carey sighed as 
a woman but obeyed as a wife. They 
were about to step into the carriage 
when the Vicar remembered that no 
one had given him his egg. They 
knew that he must have an egg for 
his voice, there were two women in 
the house, and no one had the least 
regard for his comfort. Mrs. Carey 
scolded Mary Ann, and Mary Ann 
answered that she could not think of 
everything. She hurried away to fetch 
an egg, and Mrs. Carey beat it up in 
a glass of sherry. The Vicar swallowed 
it at a gulp. The communion plate 



i8 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



was stowed in the carriage, and they 
setofiF. 

The fly came from The Red Lion 
and had a pecuhar smell of stale 
straw. They drove with both windows 
closed so that the Vicar should not 
catch cold. The sexton was waiting 
at the porch to take the communion 
plate, and while the Vicar went to 
the vestry Mrs. Carey and Philip set- 
tled themselves in the vicarage pew. 
Mrs. Carey placed in front of her the 
sixpenny bit she was accustomed to 
put in the plate, and gave Philip 
threepence for the same purpose. The 
church filled up gradually and the 
service began. 

Philip grew bored during the ser- 
mon, but if he fidgeted Mrs. Carey 
put a gentle hand on his arm and 
looked at him reproachfully. He re- 
gained interest when the final hymn 
was sung and Mr. Graves passed 
round with the plate. 

Wlien everyone had gone Mrs. 
Carey went into Miss Graves* pew to 
have a few words with her while they 
were waiting for the gentlemen, and 
Philip went to the vestry. His uncle, 
the curate, and Mr. Graves were still 
in their surplices. Mr. Carey gave him 
the remains of the consecrated bread 
and told him he might eat it. He had 
been accustomed to eat it himself, as 
it seemed blasphemous to throw it 
away, but Philip's keen appetite re- 
lieved him from the duty. Then they 
counted the money. It consisted of 
pennies, sixpences and threepenny 
bits. There were always tAvo single 
shillings, one put in the plate by the 
Vicar and the other by Mr. Graves; 
and sometimes there was a florin. Mr. 
Graves told the Vicar who had given 
this. It was always a stranger to 
Blackstable, and Mr. Carey wondered 
who he was. But Miss Graves had 
observed the rash act and was able 



to tell Mrs. Carey that the stranger 
came from London, was married and 
had children. During the drive home 
Mrs. Carey passed the information on, 
and the Vicar made up his mind to 
call on him and ask for a subscription 
to the Additional Curates Society. 
Mr. Carey asked if Philip had be- 
haved properly; and Mrs. Carey re- 
marked that Mrs. Wigram had a new 
mantle, Mr. Cox was not in church, 
and somebody thought that Miss 
Phillips was engaged. When they 
reached the vicarage they all felt that 
they deserved a substantial dinner. 

When this was over Mrs. Carey 
went to her room to rest, and Mr. 
Carey lay down on the sofa in the 
drawing-room for forty winks. 

They had tea at five, and the Vicar 
ate an egg to support himself for even- 
song. Mrs. Carey did not go to this 
so that Mary Ann might, but she read 
the service through and the hymns. 
Mr. Carey walked to church in the 
evening, and Philip limped along by 
his side. The walk through the dark- 
ness along the country road strangely 
impressed him, and the church with 
all its lights in the distance, com- 
ing gradually nearer, seemed very 
friendly. At first he was shy with his 
uncle, but little by little grew used 
to him, and he would slip his hand 
in his uncle's and walk more easily 
for the feeling of protection. 

They had supper when they got 
home. Mr. Carey's slippers were wait- 
ing for him on a footstool in front 
of the fire and by their side Philip's, 
one the shoe of a small boy, the other 
misshapen and odd. He was dread- 
fully tired when he went up to bed, 
and he did not resist when Mary 
Ann undressed him. She kissed him 
after she tucked him up, and he 
began to love her. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



19 



VIII 



Philip had led always the soHtary 
Hfe of an only child, and his loneliness 
at the vicarage was no greater than 
it had been when his mother lived. 
He made friends with Mary Ann. 
She was a chubby little person of 
thirty-five, the daughter of a fisher- 
man, and had come to the vicarage 
at eighteen; it was her first place and 
she had no intention of leaving it; 
but she held a possible marriage as a 
rod over the timid heads of her master 
and mistress. Her father and mother 
lived in a little house off Harbour 
Street, and she went to see them on 
her evenings out. Her stories of the 
sea touched Philip's imagination, and 
the narrow alleys round the harbour 
grew rich with the romance which his 
young fancy lent them. One evening 
he asked whether he might go home 
with her; but his aunt was afraid that 
he might catch something, and his 
uncle said that evil communications 
corrupted good manners. He disliked 
the fisher folk, who were rough, un- 
couth, and went to chapel. But Philip 
was more comfortable in the kitchen 
than in the dining-room, and, when- 
ever he could, he took his toys and 
played there. His aunt was not sorry. 
She did not like disorder, and though 
she recognised that boys must be ex- 
pected to be untidy she preferred that 
he should make a mess in the kitchen. 
If he fidgetted his uncle was apt to 
grow restless and say it was high time 
he went to school. Mrs. Carey thought 
Philip very young for this, and her 
heart went out to the motherless 
child; but her attempts to gain his 
affection were awkward, and the boy. 



feeling shy, received her demonstra- 
tions with so much sullenness that she 
was mortified. Sometimes she heard 
his shrill voice raised in laughter in 
the kitchen, but when she went in, he 
grew suddenly silent, and he flushed 
darkly when Mary Ann explained the 
joke. Mrs. Carey could not see any- 
thing amusing in what she heard, and 
she smiled with constraint. 

"He seems happier with Mary Ann 
than vdth us, William," she said, 
when she returned to her sewing. 

"One can see he's been very badly 
brought up. He wants licking into 
shape." 

On the second Sunday after Philip 
arrived an unlucky incident occurred. 
Mr. Carey had retired as usual after 
dinner for a little snooze in the draw- 
ing-room, but he was in an irritable 
mood and could not sleep. Josiah 
Graves that morning had objected 
strongly to some candlesticks with 
which the Vicar had adorned the altar. 
He had bought them second-hand in 
Tercanbury, and he thought they 
looked very well. But Josiah Graves 
said they were popish. This was a 
taunt that always aroused the Vicar. 
He had been at Oxford during the 
movement which ended in the seces- 
sion from the Established Church of 
Edward Manning, and he felt a cer- 
tain sympathy for the Church of 
Rome. He would willingly have made 
the service more ornate than had been 
usual in the low-church parish of 
Blackstable, and in his secret soul he 
yearned for processions and lighted 
candles. He drew the line at incense. 
He hated the word protestant. He 



20 



MR. MAUGHA 



HIMSELF 



called himself a Catholic. He was ac- 
customed to say that Papists required 
an epithet, they were Roman Catholic; 
but the Church of England was Cath- 
olic in the best, the fullest, and the 
noblest sense of the term. He was 
pleased to think that his shaven face 
gave him the look of a priest, and in 
his youth he had possessed an ascetic 
air which added to the impression. 
He often related that on one of his 
holidays in Boulogne, one of those 
holidays upon which his wife for 
economy's sake did not accompany 
him, when he was sitting in a church, 
the cure had come up to him and 
invited him to preach a sermon. He 
dismissed his curates when they mar- 
ried, having decided views on the 
celibacy of the unbeneficed clergy. 
But when at an election the Liberals 
had written on his garden fence in 
large blue letters: This way to Rome, 
he had been very angry, and threat- 
ened to prosecute the leaders of the 
Liberal party in Blackstable. He made 
up his mind now that nothing Josiah 
Graves said would induce him to re- 
move the candlesticks from the altar, 
and he muttered Bismarck to himself 
once or twice irritably. 

Suddenly he heard an unexpected 
noise. He pulled the handkerchief off 
his face, got up from the sofa on 
which he was lying, and went into 
the dining-room. Philip was seated on 
the table with all his bricks around 
him. He had built a monstrous castle, 
and some defect in the foundation 
had just brought the structure down 
in noisy ruin. 

"What are you doing with those 
bricks, Philip? You know you're not 
allowed to play games on Sunday." 

Philip stared at him for a moment 
with frightened eyes, and, as his habit 
was, flushed deeply. 

"I always used to play at home," he 
answered. 



"Fm sure your dear mamma never 
allowed you to do such a wicked 
thing as that." 

Philip did not know it was wicked; 
but if it was, he did not wish it to be 
supposed that his mother had con- 
sented to it. He hung his head and 
did not answer. 

''Don't you know it's very, very 
wicked to play on Sunday? What 
d'you suppose it's called the day of 
rest for? You're going to church to- 
night, and how can you face your 
Maker when you've been breaking 
one of His laws in the afternoon?" 

Mr. Carey told him to put the 
bricks away at once, and stood over 
him while Philip did so. 

"You're a very naughty boy," he 
repeated. "Think of the grief you're 
causing your poor mother in heaven." 

Philip felt inclined to cry, but he 
had an instinctive disinclination to let- 
ting other people see his tears, and he 
clenched his teeth to prevent the sobs 
from escaping. Mr. Carey sat down 
in his arm-chair and began to turn 
over the pages of a book. PhiHp stood 
at the window. The vicarage was set 
back from the highroad to Tercanbury, 
and from the dining-room one saw a 
semicircular strip of lawn and then 
as far as the horizon green fields. 
Sheep were grazing in them. The sky 
was forlorn and gray. Philip felt in- 
finitely unhappy. 

Presently Mary Ann came in to lay 
the tea, and Aunt Louisa descended 
the stairs. 

"Have you had a nice little nap, 
William?" she asked. 

"No," he answered. "Philip made 
so much noise that I couldn't sleep 
a wink." 

This was not quite accurate, for he 
had been kept awake by his own 
thoughts; and Philip, listening sul- 
lenly, reflected that he had only made 
a noise once, and there was no reason 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



21 



why his uncle should not have slept 
before or after. When Mrs. Carey 
asked for an explanation the Vicar 
narrated the facts. 

"He hasn't even said he was sorry," 
he finished. 

"Oh, Philip, Fm sure you're sorry," 
said Mrs. Carey, anxious that the 
child should not seem wickeder to his 
uncle than need be. 

Philip did not reply. He went on 
munching his bread and butter. He 
did not know what power it was in 
him that prevented him from making 
any expression of regret. He felt his 
ears tingling, he was a little inclined 
to cry, but no word would issue from 
his lips. 

"You needn't make it worse by 
sulking," said Mr. Carey. 

Tea was finished in silence. Mrs. 
Carey looked at Philip surreptitiously 
now and then, but the Vicar elabo- 
rately ignored him. When Philip saw 
his uncle go upstairs to get ready for 
church he went into the hall and got 
his hat and coat, but when the Vicar 
came downstairs and saw him, he said: 

"I don't wish you to go to church 
tonight, Philip. I don't think you're 
in a proper frame of mind to enter 
the House of God." 

Philip did not say a word. He felt 
it was a deep humiliation that was 
placed upon him, and his cheeks red- 
dened. He stood silently watching his 
uncle put on his broad hat and his 
voluminous cloak. Mrs. Carey as 
usual went to the door to see him off. 
Then she turned to Philip. 

"Never mind, Philip, you won't be 
a naughty boy next Sunday, v^dll you, 
and then your uncle will take you to 
church with him in the evening." 

She took oflF his hat and coat, and 
led him into the dining-room. 

"Shall you and I read the service 
together, Philip, and we'll sing the 
hymns at the harmonium. Would 



you like that?" 

Philip shook his head decidedly. 
Mrs. Carey was taken aback. If he 
would not read the evening service 
with her she did not know what to 
do with him. 

"Then what would you like to do 
until your uncle comes back?" she 
asked helplessly. 

Philip broke his silence at last. 

"I want to be left alone'," he said. 

"Philip, how can you say anything 
so unkind? Don't you know that 
your uncle and I only want your 
good? Don't you love me at all?" 

"I hate you. I wish you was dead." 

Mrs. Carey gasped. He said the 
words so savagely that it gave her 
quite a start. She had nothing to say. 
She sat down in her husband's chair; 
and as she thought of her desire to 
love the friendless, crippled boy and 
her eager vdsh that he should love 
her— she was a barren woman and, 
even though it was clearly God's will 
that she should be childless, she could 
scarcely bear to look at little children 
sometimes, her heart ached so— the 
tears rose to her eyes and one by one, 
slowly, rolled dov\Ti her cheeks. Philip 
watched her in amazement. She took 
out her handkerchief, and now she 
cried without restraint. Suddenly 
Philip realised that she was crying be- 
cause of what he had said, and he was 
sorry. He went up to her silently and 
kissed her. It was the first kiss he had 
ever given her without being asked. 
And the poor lady, so small in her 
black satin, shrivelled up and sallow, 
with her funny corkscrew curls, took 
the little boy on her lap and put her 
arms around him and wept as though 
her heart would break. But her tears 
were partly tears of happiness, for she 
felt that the strangeness between them 
was gone. She loved him now with 
a new love because he had made her 
suffer. 



22 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



IX 



O N T H E following Sunday, when the 
Vicar was making his preparations to 
go into the drawing-room for his nap 
—all the actions of his life were con- 
ducted with ceremony— and Mrs. 
Carey was about to go upstairs, Philip 
asked: 

'^What shall I do if I'm not allowed 
to play?" 

"Can't you sit still for once and 
be quiet?" 

"I can't sit still till tea-time." 

Mr. Carey looked out of the win- 
dow, but it was cold and raw, and 
he could not suggest that Philip 
should go into the garden. 

"I know what you can do. You 
can learn by heart the collect for the 
day." 

He took the prayer-book which was 
used for prayers from the harmonium, 
and turned the pages till he came to 
the place he wanted. 

"It's not a long one. If you can say 
it without a mistake when I come in 
to tea you shall have the top of my 
egg." 

Mrs. Carey drew up Philip's chair 
to the dining-room table— they had 
bought him a high chair by now— 
and placed the book in front of him. 

"The devil finds work for idle hands 
to do," said Mr. Carey. 

He put some more coals on the fire 
so that there should be a cheerful 
blaze when he came in to tea, and 
went into the drawing-room. He loos- 
ened his collar, arranged the cushions, 
and settled himself comfortably on 
the sofa. But thinking the drawing- 
room a httle chilly, Mrs. Carey 
brought him a rug from the hall; she 
put it over his legs and tucked it 



round his feet. She drew the blinds 
so that the light should not offend his 
eyes, and since he had closed them 
already went out of the room on tip- 
toe. The Vicar was at peace with him- 
self today, and in ten minutes he 
was asleep. He snored softly. 

It was the Sixth Sunday after 
Epiphany, and the collect began with 
the words: O God, whose Messed Son 
was manifested that he might destroy 
the works of the devil, and make us 
the sons of God, and heirs of Eternal 
life. Philip read it through. He could 
make no sense of it. He began saying 
the words aloud to himself, but many 
of them were unknown to him, and 
the construction of the sentences was 
strange. He could not get more than 
two lines in his head. And his at- 
tention was constantly wandering: 
there were fruit trees trained on the 
walls of the vicarage, and a long twig 
beat now and then against the win- 
dowpane; sheep grazed stolidly in the 
field beyond the garden. It seemed as 
though there were knots inside his 
brain. Then panic seized him that he 
would not know the words by tea- 
time, and he kept on whispering them 
to himself quickly; he did not try to 
understand, but merely to get them 
parrot-like into his memory. 

Mrs. Carey could not sleep that 
afternoon, and by four o'clock she 
was so wide awake that she came down- 
stairs. She thought she would hear 
Philip say his collect so that he should 
make no mistakes when he said it to 
his uncle. His uncle then would be 
pleased; he would see that the boy's 
heart was in the right place. But 
when Mrs. Carey came to the dining- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



room and was about to go in, she 
heard a sound that made her stop 
suddenly. Her heart gave a Httle 
jump. She turned away and quietly 
slipped out of the front-door. She 
walked round the house till she came 
to the dining-room window and then 
cautiously looked in. Philip was still 
sitting on the chair she had put him 
in, but his head was on the table 
buried in his arms, and he was sob- 
bing desperately. She saw the con- 
vulsive movement of his shoulders. 
Mrs. Carey was frightened. A thing 
that had always struck her about the 
child was that he seemed so collected. 
She had never seen him cry. And now 
she realised that his calmness was 
some instinctive shame of showing his 
feelings: he hid himself to weep. 

Without thinking that her hus- 
band disliked being awakened sud- 
denly, she burst into the drawing- 
room. 

"William, William," she said. "The 
boy's crying as though his heart 
would break." 

Mr. Carey sat up and disentangled 
himself from the rug about his legs. 

"What's he got to cry about?" 

"I don't know. . . . Oh, William, 
we can't let the boy be unhappy. 
D'you think it's our fault? If we'd 
had children we'd have known what 
to do." 

Mr. Carey looked at her in per- 
plexity. He felt extraordinarily help- 
less. 

"He can't be crying because I gave 
him the collect to learn. It's not more 
than ten lines." 

"Don't you think I might take him 
some picture books to look at, Wil- 
liam? There are some of the Holy 
Land. There couldn't be anything 
wrong in that." 

"Very well, I don't mind." 

Mrs. Carey went into the study. 
To collect books was Mr. Carey's only 



23 

passion, and he never went into Ter- 
canbury without spending an hour 
or two in the second-hand shop; he 
always brought back four or five musty 
volumes. He never read them, for he 
had long lost the habit of reading, 
but he liked to turn the pages, look 
at the illustrations if they were illus- 
trated, and mend the bindings. He 
welcomed wet days because on them 
he could stay at home without pangs 
of conscience and spend the afternoon 
with white of egg and a glue-pot, 
patching up the Russia leather of some 
battered quarto. He had many vol- 
umes of old travels, with steel en- 
gravings, and Mrs. Carey quickly 
found two which described Palestine. 
She coughed elaborately at the door 
so that Philip should have time to 
compose himself, she felt that he 
would be humiliated if she came 
upon him in the midst of his tears, 
then she rattled the door handle. 
When she went in Philip was poring 
over the prayer-book, hiding his eyes 
with his hands so that she radght not 
see he had been crying. 

"Do you know the collect yet?" she 
said. 

He did not answer for a moment, 
and she felt that he did not trust his 
voice. She was oddly embarrassed. 

"I can't learn it by heart," he said 
at last, with a gasp. 

"Oh, well, never mind," she said. 
"You needn't. I've got some picture 
books for you to look at. Come and 
sit on my lap, and we'll look at them 
together." 

Philip slipped off his chair and 
limped over to her. He looked down 
so that she should not see his eyes. 
She put her arms round him. 

"Look," she said, "that's the place 
where our Blessed Lord was born." 

She showed him an Eastern town 
with flat roofs and cupolas and min- 
arets. In the foreground was a group 



24 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



of palm-trees, and under them were 
resting two Arabs and some camels. 
Philip passed his hand over the pic- 
ture as if he wanted to feel the houses 
and the loose habiliments of the no- 
mads. 

"Read what it says," he asked. 

Mrs. Carey in her even voice read 
the opposite page. It was a romantic 
narrative of some Eastern traveller of 
the thirties, pompous maybe, but 
fragrant with the emotion with which 
the East came to the generation that 
followed Byron and Chateaubriand. 
In a moment or two Philip interrupted 
her. 

"I want to see another picture." 

When Mary Ann came in and Mrs. 
Carey rose to help her lay the cloth, 
Philip took the book in his hands and 
hurried through the illustrations. It 
was with difficulty that his aunt in- 
duced him to put the book down for 
tea. He had forgotten his horrible 
struggle to get the collect by heart; 
he had forgotten his tears. Next day 
it was raining, and he asked for the 
book again. Mrs. Carey gave it him 
joyfully. Talking over his future with 
her husband she had found that both 
desired him to take orders, and this 
eagerness for the book which described 
places hallowed by the presence of 
Jesus seemed a good sign. It looked 
as though the boy's mind addressed 
itself naturally to holy things. But in 
a day or two he asked for more books. 
Mr. Carey took him into his study, 
showed him the shelf in which he 
kept illustrated works, and chose for 
him one that dealt with Rome. Philip 
took it greedily. The pictures led him 
to a new amusement. He began to 
read the page before and the page 
after each engraving to find out what 
it was about, and soon he lost all in- 
terest in his toys. 

Then, when no one was near, he 
took out books for himself; and per- 



haps because the first impression on 
his mind was made by an Eastern 
town, he found his chief amusement 
in those which described the Levant. 
His heart beat with excitement at the 
pictures of mosques and rich palaces; 
but there was one, in a book on Con- 
stantinople, which peculiarly stirred 
his imagination. It was called the Hall 
of the Thousand Columns. It was a 
Byzantine cistern, which the popular 
fancy had endowed with fantastic 
vastness; and the legend which he 
read told that a boat was always 
moored at the entrance to tempt the 
unwary, but no traveller venturing 
into the darkness had ever been seen 
again. And Philip wondered whether 
the boat went on for ever through one 
pillared alley after another or came 
at last to some strange mansion. 

One day a good fortune befell him, 
for he hit upon Lane's translation of 
The Thousand Nights and a Night. 
He was captured first by the illus- 
trations, and then he began to read, 
to start with, the stories that dealt with 
magic, and then the others; and those 
he liked he read again and again. He 
could think of nothing else. He for- 
got the life about him. He had to be 
called two or three times before he 
would come to his dinner. Insensibly 
he formed the most delightful habit 
in the world, the habit of reading: 
he did not know that thus he was 
providing himself with a refuge from 
all the distress of life; he did not 
know either that he was creating for 
himself an unreal world which would 
make the real world of every day a 
source of bitter disappointment. Pres- 
ently he began to read other things. 
His brain was precocious. His uncle 
and aunt, seeing that he occupied him- 
self and neither worried nor made a 
noise, ceased to trouble themselves 
about him. Mr. Carey had so many 
books that he did not know them. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



25 



and as he read little he forgot the 
odd lots he had bought at one time 
and another because they were cheap. 
Haphazard among the sermons and 
homilies, the travels, the lives of the 
Saints, the Fathers, the histories of 
the church, were old-fashioned novels; 
and these Philip at last discovered. He 
chose them by their titles, and the 
first he read was The Lancashire 
Witches, and then he read The Admi- 
rable Crichton, and then many more. 
Whenever he started a book with two 
solitary travellers riding along the 
brink of a desperate ravine he knew 
he was safe. 

The summer was come now, and 
the gardener, an old sailor, made him 
a hammock and fixed it up for him in 
the branches of a weeping willow. 
And here for long hours he lay, hid- 
den from anyone who might come 
to the vicarage, reading, reading pas- 



sionately. Time passed and it was 
July; August came: on Sundays the 
church was crowded with strangers, 
and the collection at the offertory 
often amounted to two pounds. 
Neither the Vicar nor Mrs. Carey 
went out of the garden much during 
this period; for they disliked strange 
faces, and they looked upon the visi- 
tors from London with aversion. The 
house opposite was taken for six weeks 
by a gentleman who had two little 
boys, and he sent in to ask if Philip 
would like to go and play with them; 
but Mrs. Carey returned a polite re- 
fusal. She was afraid that Philip 
would be corrupted by little boys from 
London. He was going to be a clergy- 
man, and it was necessary that he 
should be preserved from contamina- 
tion. She liked to see in him an infant 
Samuel. 



The Careys made up their minds to 
send Philip to King's School at Ter- 
canbury. The neighbouring clergy sent 
their sons there. It was united by long 
tradition to the Cathedral: its head- 
master was an honorary Canon, and 
a past headmaster was the Archdeacon. 
Boys were encouraged there to aspire 
to Holy Orders, and the education 
was such as might prepare an honest 
lad to spend his life in God's service. 
A preparatory school was attached to 
it, and to this it was arranged that 
Philip should go. Mr. Carey took him 
into Tercanbury one Thursday after- 
noon towards the end of September. 
All day Philip had been excited and 
rather frightened. He knew little of 
school life but what he had read in 
the stories of The Boy's Own Paper. 



He had also read Eric, or Little hy 
Little. 

When they got out of the train at 
Tercanbury, Philip felt sick with ap- 
prehension, and during the drive in 
to the town sat pale and silent. The 
high brick wall in front of the school 
gave it the look of a prison. There 
was a little door in it, which opened 
on their ringing; and a clumsy, un- 
tidy man came out and fetched 
PhiHp's tin trunk and his play-box. 
They were shown into the drawing- 
room; it was filled with massive, ugly 
furniture, and the chairs of the suite 
were placed round the walls with a 
forbidding rigidity. They waited for 
the headmaster. 

"What's Mr. Watson Hke?" asked 
Philip, after a while. 



26 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"You'll see for yourself." 

There was another pause. Mr. 
Carey wondered why the headmaster 
did not come. Presently Philip made 
an effort and spoke again. 

"Tell him I've got a club-foot," he 
said. 

Before Mr. Carey could speak the 
door burst open and Mr. Watson 
swept into the room. To Philip he 
seemed gigantic. He was a man of 
over six feet high, and broad, with 
enormous hands and a great red 
beard; he talked loudly in a jovial 
manner; but his aggressive cheerful- 
ness struck terror in Philip's heart. 
He shook hands with Mr. Carey, and 
then took Philip's small hand in his. 

"Well, young fellow, are you glad 
to come to school?" he shouted. 

Philip reddened and found no 
word to answer. 

"How old are you?" 

"Nine," said PhiHp. 

*Tou must say sir," said his uncle. 

"I expect you've got a good lot to 
learn," the headmaster bellowed cheer- 
ily. 

To give the boy confidence he be- 
gan to tickle him with rough fingers. 
Phihp, feeling shy and uncomfortable, 
squirmed under his touch. 

"I've put him in the small dor- 
mitory for the present. . . . You'll 
like that, won't you?" he added to 
Philip. "Only eight of 5^ou in there. 
You won't feel so strange." 

Then the door opened, and Mrs. 
Watson came in. She was a dark 
woman with black hair, neatly parted 
in the middle. She had curiously thick 
lips and a small round nose. Her eyes 
were large and black. There was a 
singular coldness in her appearance. 
She seldom spoke and smiled more 
seldom still. Her husband introduced 
Mr. Carey to her, and then gave 
Philip a friendly push towards her. 



"This is a new boy, Helen. His 
name's Carey." 

Without a word she shook hands 
with Philip and then sat down, not 
speaking, while the headmaster asked 
Mr. Carey how much Philip knew 
and what books he had been working 
with. The Vicar of Blackstable was a 
little embarrassed by Mr. Watson's 
boisterous heartiness, and in a moment 
or two got up. 

"I think I'd better leave Philip 
with you now." 

'That's all right," said Mr. Watson. 
"He'll be safe with me. He'll get on 
hke a house on fire. Won't you, young 
fellow?" 

Without waiting for an answer from 
Philip the big man burst into a great 
bellow of laughter. Mr. Carey kissed 
Philip on the forehead and went away. 

"Come along, young fellow," 
shouted Mr. Watson. "I'll show you 
the school-room." 

He swept out of the drawing-room 
with giant strides, and Philip hur- 
riedly limped behind him. He was 
taken into a long, bare room with 
two tables that ran along its whole 
length; on each side of them were 
wooden forms. 

"Nobody much here yet," said Mr. 
Watson. "I'll just show you the play- 
ground, and then I'll leave you to shift 
for yourself." 

Mr. Watson led the way. Philip 
found himself in a large playground 
with high brick walls on three sides 
of it. On the fourth side was an iron 
railing through which you saw a vast 
lawn and beyond this some of the 
buildings of King's School. One small 
boy was wandering disconsolately, 
kicking up the gravel as he walked. 

"Hulloa, Venning," shouted Mr. 
Watson. "When did you turn up?" 

The small boy came forward and 
shook hands. 

"Here's a new boy. He's older and 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



bigger than you, so don't you bully 
him." 

The headmaster glared amicably at 
the two children, filling them with 
fear by the roar of his voice, and then 
with a guffaw left them. 

"What's your name?" 

"Carey." 

"What's your father?" 

"He's dead." 

"Oh! Does your mother wash?" 

"My mother's dead, too." 

Philip thought this answer would 
cause the boy a certain awkwardness, 
but Venning was not to be turned 
from his facetiousness for so little. 

"Well, did she wash?" he went on. 

"Yes," said Philip indignantly. 

"She was a washerwoman then?" 

"No, she wasn't." 

"Then she didn't wash." 

The little boy crowed with delight 
at the success of his dialectic. Then 
he caught sight of Philip's feet. 

"What's the matter with your foot?" 

Philip instinctively tried to with- 
draw it from sight. He hid it behind 
the one which was whole. 

"I've got a club-foot," he answered. 

"How did you get it?" 

"I've always had it." 

"Let's have a look." 

"No." 

"Don't then." 

The little boy accompanied the 
words with a sharp kick on Philip's 
shin, which Philip did not expect and 
thus could not guard against. The 



27 

pain was so great that it made him 
gasp, but greater than the pain was 
the surprise. He did not know why 
Venning kicked him. He had not the 
presence of mind to give him a black 
eye. Besides, the boy was smaller than 
he, and he had read in The Boy's 
Own Paper that it was a mean thing 
to hit anyone smaller than yourself. 
While Philip was nursing his shin a 
third boy appeared, and his tormen- 
tor left him. In a little while he no- 
ticed that the pair were talking about 
him, and he felt they were looking 
at his feet. He grew hot and uncom- 
fortable. 

But others arrived, a dozen to- 
gether, and then more, and they be- 
gan to talk about their doings during 
the holidays, where they had been, 
and what wonderful cricket they had 
played. A few new boys appeared, 
and with these presently Philip found 
himself talking. He was shy and 
nervous. He was anxious to make 
himself pleasant, but he could not 
think of anything to say. He was asked 
a great many questions and answered 
them all quite willingly. One boy 
asked him whether he could play 
cricket. 

"No," answered Philip. "I've got a 
club-foot." 

The boy looked down quickly and 
reddened. Philip saw that he felt he 
had asked an unseemly question. He 
was too shy to apologise and looked 
at Philip awkwardly. 



XI 



Next morning when the clanging of 
a bell awoke Philip he looked round 
his cubicle in astonishment. Then a 
voice sang out, and he remembered 
where he was. 



"Are you awake, Singer?" 

The partitions of the cubicle were 
of polished pitch-pine, and there was 
a green curtain in front. In those days 
there was little thought of ventilation, 



28 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



and the windows were closed except 
when the dormitory was aired in the 
morning. 

PhiHp got up and knelt down to 
say his prayers. It was a cold morn- 
ing, and he shivered a little; but he 
had been taught by his uncle that his 
prayers were more acceptable to God 
if he said them in his nightshirt than 
if he waited till he was dressed. This 
did not surprise him, for he was be- 
ginning to realise that he was the 
creature of a God who appreciated the 
discomfort of his worshippers. Then 
he washed. There were two baths for 
the fifty boarders, and each boy had a 
bath once a week. The rest of his 
washing was done in a small basin on 
a wash-stand, which, with the bed and 
a chair, made up the furniture of each 
cubicle. The boys chatted gaily while 
they dressed. Philip was all ears. Then 
another bell sounded, and they ran 
downstairs. They took their seats on 
the forms on each side of the two 
long tables in the school-room; and 
Mr. Watson, followed by his wife and 
the servants, came in and sat down. 
Mr. Watson read prayers in an impres- 
sive manner, and the supplications 
thundered out in his loud voice as 
though they were threats personally 
addressed to each boy. Philip listened 
with anxiety. Then Mr. Watson read 
a chapter from the Bible, and the 
servants trooped out. In a moment the 
untidy youth brought in two large pots 
of tea and on a second journey im- 
mense dishes of bread and butter. 

Philip had a squeamish appetite, 
and the thick slabs of poor butter 
on the bread turned his stomach, but 
he saw other boys scraping it off and 
followed their example. They all had 
potted meats and such like, which 
they had brought in their play-boxes; 
and some had 'extras,' eggs or bacon, 
upon which Mr. Watson made a 
profit. When he had asked Mr. Carey 



whether Philip was to have these, Mr. 
Carey replied that he did not think 
boys should be spoilt. Mr. Watson 
quite agreed with him— he considered 
nothing was better than bread and but- 
ter for growing lads— but some par- 
ents, unduly pampering their off- 
spring, insisted on it. 

Philip noticed that 'extras' gave 
boys a certain consideration and made 
up his mind, when he wrote to Aunt 
Louisa, to ask for them. 

After breakfast the boys wandered 
out into the playground. Here the 
day-boys were gradually assembling. 
They were sons of the local clergy, of 
the officers at the Depot, and of such 
manufacturers or men of business as 
the old town possessed. Presently a 
bell rang, and they all trooped into 
school. This consisted of a large, long 
room at opposite ends of which two 
under-masters conducted the second 
and third forms, and of a smaller one, 
leading out of it, used by Mr. Watson, 
who taught the first form. To attach 
the preparatory to the senior school 
these three classes were known offi- 
cially, on speech days and in reports, 
as upper, middle, and lower second. 
Philip was put in the last. The mas- 
ter, a red-faced man with a pleasant 
voice, was called Rice; he had a jolly 
manner with boys, and the time passed 
quickly. Philip was surprised when it 
was a quarter to eleven and they were 
let out for ten minutes' rest. 

The whole school rushed noisily 
into the playground. The new boys 
were told to go into the middle, while 
the others stationed themselves along 
opposite walls. They began to play 
Pig in the Middle. The old boys ran 
from wall to wall while the new boys 
tried to catch them: when one was 
seized and the mystic words said— one, 
two, three, and a pig for me— he be- 
came a prisoner and, turning sides, 
helped to catch those who were still 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



29 



free. Philip saw a boy running past 
and tried to catch him, but his limp 
gave him no chance; and the runners, 
taking their opportunity, made straight 
for the ground he covered. Then one 
of them had the brilliant idea of 
imitating Philip's clumsy run. Other 
boys saw it and began to laugh; then 
they all copied the first; and they ran 
round Philip, limping grotesquely, 
screaming in their treble voices vidth 
shrill laughter. They lost their heads 
with the delight of their new amuse- 
ment, and choked with helpless mer- 
riment. One of them tripped Philip 
up and he fell, heavily as he always 
fell, and cut his knee. They laughed 
all the louder when he got up. A boy 
pushed him from behind, and he 
would have fallen again if another 
had not caught him. The game was 
forgotten in the entertainment of 
Philip's deformity. One of them in- 
vented an odd, rolling limp that struck 
the rest as supremely ridiculous, and 
several of the boys lay down on the 
ground and rolled about in laughter: 
Philip was completely scared. He 
could not make out why they were 
laughing at him. His heart beat so that 
he could hardly breathe, and he was 
more frightened than he had ever been 
in his life. He stood still stupidly while 
the boys ran round him, mimicking 
and laughing; they shouted to him to 
try and catch them; but he did not 
move. He did not want them to see 
him run any more. He was using all 
his strength to prevent himself from 
crying. 

Suddenly the bell rang, and they 
all trooped back to school. Philip's 
knee was bleeding, and he was dusty 
and dishevelled. For some minutes 
Mr. Rice could not control his form. 
They were excited still by the strange 
novelty, and Philip saw one or two 
of them furtively looking down at his 
feet. He tucked them under the bench. 



In the afternoon they went up to 
play football, but Mr. Watson stopped 
Philip on the way out after dinner. 

"I suppose you can't play football, 
Carey?" he asked him. 

Philip blushed self-consciously. 

"No, sir." 

"Very well. You'd better go up to 
the field. You can walk as far as that, 
can't you?" 

Philip had no idea where the field 
was, but he answered all the same. 

"Yes, sir." 

The boys went in charge of Mr. 
Rice, who glanced at Philip and, see- 
ing he had not changed, asked why he 
was not going to play. 

"Mr. Watson said I needn't, sir," 
said Philip. 

"Why?" 

There were boys all round him, 
looking at him curiously, and a feel- 
ing of shame came over Philip. He 
looked down without answering. Oth- 
ers gave the reply. 

"He's got a club-foot, sir." 

"Oh, I see." 

Mr. Rice was quite young; he had 
only taken his degree a year before; 
and he was suddenly embarrassed. 
His instinct was to beg the boy's par- 
don, but he was too shy to do so. He 
made his voice gruff and loud. 

"Now then, you boys, what are you 
waiting about for? Get on with you." 

Some of them had already started 
and those that were left now set off, 
in groups of two or three. 

'Tou'd better come along with me, 
Carey," said the master. "You don't 
know the way, do you?" 

Philip guessed the kindness, and a 
sob came to his throat. 

"I can't go very fast, sir." 

"Then I'll go very slow," said the 
master, with a smile. 

Philip's heart went out to the red- 
faced, commonplace young man who 



30 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



said a gentle word to him. He sud- 
denly felt less unhappy. 

But at night when they went up 
to bed and were undressing, the boy 
who was called Singer came out of 
his cubicle and put his head in 
Philip's. 

"I say, let's look at your foot," he 
said. 

"No," answered Philip. 

He jumped into bed quickly. 

"Don't say no to me," said Singer. 
"Come on. Mason." 

The boy in the next cubicle was 
looking round the corner, and at the 
words he slipped in. They made for 
Philip and tried to tear the bed-clothes 
off him, but he held them tightly. 

"Why can't you leave me alone?" 
he cried. 

Singer seized a brush and with the 
back of it beat Philip's hands clenched 
on the blanket. Philip cried out. 

"Why don't you show us your foot 
quietly?" 

"I won't." 

In desperation Philip clenched his 
fist and hit the boy who tormented 
him, but he was at a disadvantage, 
and the boy seized his arm. He began 
to turn it. 

"Oh, don't, don't," said Philip. 
'Tou'll break my arm." 

"Stop still then and put out your 
foot." 

Philip gave a sob and a gasp. The 
boy gave the arm another wrench. 
The pain was unendurable. 

"All right. I'll do it," said Philip. 

He put out his foot. Singer still 
kept his hand on Philip's wrist. He 
looked curiously at the deformity. 

"Isn't it beastly?" said Mason. 

Another came in and looked too. 

"Ugh," he said, in disgust. 

"My word, it is rum," said Singer, 
making a face. "Is it hard?" 

He touched it with the tip of his 
forefinger, cautiously, as though it 



were something that had a life of its 
own. Suddenly they heard Mr. Wat- 
son's heavy tread on the stairs. They 
threw the clothes back on Philip and 
dashed like rabbits into their cubicles. 
Mr. Watson came into the dormitory. 
Raising himself on tiptoe he could see 
over the rod that bore the green cur- 
tain, and he looked into two or three 
of the cubicles. The little boys were 
safely in bed. He put out the light 
and went out. 

Singer called out to Philip, but he 
did not answer. He had got his teeth 
in the pillow so that his sobbing 
should be inaudible. He was not cry- 
ing for the pain they had caused him, 
nor for the humiliation he had suf- 
fered when they looked at his foot, 
but with rage at himself because, un- 
able to stand the torture, he had put 
out his foot of his own accord. 

And then he felt the misery of his 
life. It seemed to his childish mind 
that this unhappiness must go on for 
ever. For no particular reason he re- 
membered that cold morning when 
Emma had taken him out of bed and 
put him beside his mother. He had not 
thought of it once since it happened, 
but now he seemed to feel the warmth 
of his mother's body against his and 
her arms around him. Suddenly it 
seemed to him that his life was a 
dream, his mother's death, and the 
life at the vicarage, and these two 
wretched days at school, and he 
would awake in the morning and be 
back again at home. His tears dried 
as he thought of it. He was too un- 
happy, it must be nothing but a dream, 
and his mother was alive, and Emma 
would come up presently and go to 
bed. He fell asleep. 

But when he awoke next morning 
it was to the clanging of a bell, and 
the first thing his eyes saw was the 
green curtain of his cubicle. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



31 



XII 



As TIME went on Philip's deformity 
ceased to interest. It was accepted like 
one boy's red hair and another's un- 
reasonable corpulence. But meanwhile 
he had grown horribly sensitive. He 
never ran if he could help it, because 
he knew it made his limp more con- 
spicuous, and he adopted a peculiar 
walk. He stood still as much as he 
could, with his club-foot behind the 
other, so that it should not attract 
notice, and he was constantly on the 
look out for any reference to it. Be- 
cause he could not join in the games 
which other boys played, their life 
remained strange to him; he only in- 
terested himself from the outside in 
their doings; and it seemed to him 
that there was a barrier between them 
and him. Sometimes they seemed to 
think that it was his fault if he could 
not play football, and he was unable 
to make them understand. He was 
left a good deal to himself. He had 
been inclined to talkativeness, but 
gradually he became silent. He began 
to think of the difference between 
himself and others. 

The biggest boy in his dormitory. 
Singer, took a dislike to him, and 
Philip, small for his age, had to put 
up with a good deal of hard treatment. 
About half-way through the term a 
mania ran through the school for a 
game called Nibs. It was a game for 
two, played on a table or a form with 
steel pens. You had to push your 
nib with the fingernail so as to get 
the point of it over your opponent's, 
while he manoeuvred to prevent this 
and to get the point of his nib over the 
back of yours; when this result was 
achieved you breathed on the ball 



of your thumb, pressed it hard on the 
two nibs, and if you were able then 
to lift them without dropping either, 
both nibs became yours. Soon nothing 
was seen but boys playing this game, 
and the more skilful acquired vast 
stores of nibs. But in a Httle while Mr. 
Watson made up his mind that it was 
a form of gambling, forbade the game, 
and confiscated all the nibs in the 
boys' possession. Philip had been very 
adroit, and it was with a heavy heart 
that he gave up his winnings; but his 
fingers itched to play still, and a few 
days later, on his way to the football 
field, he went into a shop and bought 
a pennyworth of J pens. He carried 
them loose in his pocket and enjoyed 
feeling them. Presently Singer found 
out that he had them. Singer had 
given up his nibs too, but he had kept 
back a very large one, called a Jumbo, 
which was almost unconquerable, and 
he could not resist the opportunity of 
getting Philip's Js out of him. Though 
Philip knew that he was at a disad- 
vantage with his small nibs, he had 
an adventurous disposition and was 
willing to take the risk; besides, he was 
aware that Singer would not allow 
him to refuse. He had not played for 
a week and sat down to the game 
now with a thrill of excitement. He 
lost two of his small nibs quickly, and 
Singer was jubilant, but the third time 
by some chance the Jumbo slipped 
round and Philip was able to push 
his J across it. He crowed with tri- 
umph. At that moment Mr. Watson 
came in. 

"What are you doing?" he asked. 

He looked from Singer to Philip, 
but neither answered. 



32 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"Don't you know that I've forbid- 
den you to play that idiotic game?" 

Phihp's heart beat fast. He knew 
what was coming and was dreadfully 
frightened, but in his fright there was 
a certain exultation. He had never 
been swished. Of course it would hurt, 
but it was something to boast about 
afterwards. 

''Come into my study." 

The headmaster turned, and they 
followed him side by side. Singer 
whispered to Philip: 

"We're in for it." 

Mr. Watson pointed to Singer. 

"Bend over," he said. 

Philip, very white, saw the boy 
quiver at each stroke, and after the 
third he heard him cry out. Three 
more followed. 

"That'll do. Get up." 

Singer stood up. The tears were 
streaming down his face. Philip 
stepped forward. Mr. Watson looked 
at him for a moment. 

"I'm not going to cane you. You're 
a new boy. And I can't hit a cripple. 
Go away, both of you, and don't be 
naughty again." 

When they got back into the 
school-room a group of boys, who had 
learned in some mysterious way what 
was happening, were waiting for 
them. They set upon Singer at once 
with eager questions. Singer faced 
them, his face red with the pain and 
marks of tears still on his cheeks. He 
pointed with his head at Philip, who 
was standing a little behind him. 

"He got off because he's a cripple," 
he said angrily. 

Philip stood silent and flushed. He 
felt that they looked at him with con- 
tempt. 

"How many did you get?" one boy 
asked Singer, 



But he did not answer. He was 
angry because he had been hurt. 

"Don't ask me to play Nibs with 
you again," he said to Philip. "It's 
jolly nice for you. You don't risk any- 
thing." 

"I didn't ask you." 

"Didn't you!" 

He quickly put out his foot and 
tripped Philip up. Philip was always 
rather unsteady on his feet, and he 
fell heavily to the ground. 

"Cripple," said Singer. 

For the rest of the term he tor- 
mented Philip cruelly, and, though 
Philip tried to keep out of his way, 
the school was so small that it was 
impossible; he tried being friendly 
and jolly with him; he abased him- 
self so far as to buy him a knife; but 
though Singer took the knife he was 
not placated. Once or twice, driven 
beyond endurance, he hit and kicked 
the bigger boy, but Singer was so 
much stronger that Philip was help- 
less, and he was always forced after 
more or less torture to beg his pardon. 
It was that which rankled with 
Philip; he could not bear the humili- 
ation of apologies, which were wrung 
from him by pain greater than he 
could bear. And what made it worse 
was that there seemed no end to his 
wretchedness; Singer was only eleven 
and would not go to the upper school 
till he was thirteen. Philip realized 
that he must live two years with a 
tormentor from whom there was no 
escape. He was only happy while he 
was working and when he got into 
bed. And often there recurred to him 
then that queer feeUng that his life 
with all its misery was nothing but a 
dream, and that he would awake in 
the morning in his own little bed in 
London. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



33 



XIII 



Two years passed, and Philip was 
nearly twelve. He was in the first 
form, within two or three places of 
the top, and after Christmas when 
several boys would be leaving for the 
senior school he would be head boy. 
He had already quite a collection of 
prizes, worthless books on bad paper, 
but in gorgeous bindings decorated 
with the arms of the school: his po- 
sition had freed him from bullying, 
and he was not unhappy. His fellows 
forgave him his success because of his 
deformity. 

"After all, it's jolly easy for him to 
get prizes," they said, "there's nothing 
he can do but swat." 

He had lost his early terror of Mr. 
Watson. He had grown used to the 
loud voice, and when the headmas- 
ter's heavy hand was laid on his 
shoulder Philip discerned vaguely the 
intention of a caress. He had the good 
memory which is more useful for 
scholastic achievements than mental 
power, and he knew Mr. Watson ex- 
pected him to leave the preparatory 
school with a scholarship. 

But he had grown very self-con- 
scious. The new-bom child does not 
realise that his body is more a part 
of himself than surrounding objects, 
and will play with his toes without 
any feeling that they belong to him 
more than the rattle by his side; and 
it is only by degrees, through pain, 
that he understands the fact of the 
body. And experiences of the same 
kind are necessary for the individual 
to become conscious of himself; but 
here there is the difference that, al- 
though everyone becomes equally con- 
scious of his body as a separate and 



complete organism, everyone does not 
become equally conscious of himself 
as a complete and separate personality. 
The feeling of apartness from others 
comes to most with puberty, but it 
is not always developed to such a de- 
gree as to make the difference be- 
tween the individual and his fellows 
noticeable to the individual. It is such 
as he, as little conscious of himself 
as the bee in a hive, who are the 
lucky in life, for they have the best 
chance of happiness: their activities 
are shared by all, and their pleasures 
are only pleasures because they are 
enjoyed in common; you will see 
them on Whit-Monday dancing on 
Hampstead Heath, shouting at a foot- 
ball match, or from club windows in 
Pall Mall cheering a royal procession. 
It is because of them that man has 
been called a social animal. 

Philip passed from the innocence 
of childhood to bitter consciousness 
of himself by the ridicule which his 
club-foot had excited. The circum- 
stances of his case were so peculiar 
that he could not apply to them the 
ready-made rules which acted well 
enough in ordinary affairs, and he was 
forced to think for himself. The many 
books he had read filled his mind 
with ideas which, because he only 
half understood them, gave more scope 
to his imagination. Beneath his pain- 
ful shyness something was growing up 
within him, and obscurely he realised 
his personality. But at times it gave 
him odd surprises; he did things, he 
knew not why, and afterwards when 
he thought of them found himself all 
at sea. 

There was a boy called Luard be- 



34 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



tween whom and Philip a friendship 
had arisen, and one day, when they 
were playing together in the school- 
room, Luard began to perform some 
trick with an ebony pen-holder of 
Philips. 

"Don't play the giddy ox," said 
Phihp. "You'll only break it." 

"I shan't." 

But no sooner were the words out 
of the boy's mouth than the pen- 
holder snapped in two. Luard looked 
at Philip with dismay. 

"Oh, I say, I'm awfully sorry." 

The tears rolled down Philip's 
cheeks, but he did not answer. 

"I say, what's the matter?" said 
Luard, with surprise. "I'll get you an- 
other one exactly the same." 

"It's not about the pen-holder I 
care," said Phihp, in a trembling voice, 
"only it was given me by the mater, 
just before she died." 

"I say, I'm awfully sorry, Carey." 

"It doesn't matter. It wasn't your 
fault." 

Philip took the two pieces of the 
pen-holder and looked at them. He 
tried to restrain his sobs. He felt 
utterly miserable. And yet he could 
not tell why, for he knew quite well 
that he had bought the pen-holder 
during his last holidays at Blackstable 
for one and twopence. He did not 
know in the least what had made him 
invent that pathetic story, but he was 
quite as unhappy as though it had 



been true. The pious atmosphere of 
the vicarage and the religious tone of 
the school had made Philip's con- 
science very sensitive; he absorbed in- 
sensibly the feeling about him that 
the Tempter was ever on the watch to 
gain his immortal soul; and though 
he was not more truthful than most 
boys he never told a lie without suf- 
fering from remorse. X^Tien he 
thought over this incident he was very 
much distressed, and made up his 
mind that he must go to Luard and 
tell him that the story was an in- 
vention. Though he dreaded humili- 
ation more than anything in the 
world, he hugged himself for two or 
three days at the thought of the 
agonising joy of humiliating himself 
to the Glory of God. But he never 
got any further. He satisfied his con- 
science by the more comfortable 
method of expressing his repentance 
only to the Almighty. But he could 
not understand why he should have 
been so genuinely affected by the 
story he was making up. The tears 
that flowed down his grubby cheeks 
were real tears. Then by some acci- 
dent of association there occurred to 
him that scene when Emma had told 
him of his mother's death, and, 
though he could not speak for crying, 
he had insisted on going in to say 
good-bye to the Misses Watkin so that 
they might see his grief and pity him. 



XIV 



Then a wave of religiosity passed 
through the school. Bad language was 
no longer heard, and the little nasti- 
nesses of small boys were looked upon 
with hostility; the bigger boys, like 



the lords temporal of the Middle 
Ages, used the strength of their arms 
to persuade those weaker than them- 
selves to virtuous courses. 

Philip, his restless mind avid for 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



new things, became very devout. He 
heard soon that it was possible to join 
a Bible League, and wrote to London 
for particulars. These consisted in a 
form to be filled up with the appli- 
cant's name, age, and school; a solemn 
declaration to be signed that he would 
read a set portion of Holy Scripture 
every night for a year; and a request 
for half a crown; this, it was ex- 
plained, was demanded partly to 
prove the earnestness of the appli- 
cant's desire to become a member of 
the League, and partly to cover 
clerical expenses. Philip duly sent the 
papers and the money, and in return 
received a calendar worth about a 
penny, on which was set down the 
appointed passage to be read each day, 
and a sheet of paper on one side of 
which was a picture of the Good 
Shepherd and a lamb, and on the 
other, decoratively framed in red lines, 
a short prayer which had to be said 
before beginning to read. 

Every evening he undressed as 
quickly as possible in order to have 
time for his task before the gas was 
put out. He read industriously, as he 
read always, without criticism, stories 
of cruelty, deceit, ingratitude, dis- 
honesty, and low cunning. Actions 
which would have excited his horror 
in the life about him, in the reading 
passed through his mind without com- 
ment, because they were committed 
under direct inspiration of God. The 
method of the League was to alternate 
a book of the Old Testament with a 
book of the New, and one night 
Philip came across these words 
of Jesus Christ: 

If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye 
shall not only do this which is done 
to the fig-tree, hut also if ye shall say 
unto this mountain. Be thou removed, 
and he thou cast into the sea; it shall 



35 

he done. 

And all this, whatsoever ye shall 
ask in 'prayer, believing, ye shall re- 
ceive. 

They made no particular im- 
pression on him, but it happened that 
two or three days later, being Sunday, 
the Canon in residence chose them 
for the text of his sermon. Even if 
Philip had wanted to hear this it 
would have been impossible, for the 
boys of King's School sit in the choir, 
and the pulpit stands at the comer 
of the transept so that the preacher's 
back is almost turned to them. The 
distance also is so great that it needs 
a man with a fine voice and a knowl- 
edge of elocution to make himself 
heard in the choir; and according to 
long usage the Canons of Tercanbury 
are chosen for their learning rather 
than for any qualities which might 
be of use in a cathedral church. But 
the words of the text, perhaps because 
he had read them so short a while 
before, came clearly enough to 
Philip's ears, and they seemed on a 
sudden to have a personal application. 
He thought about them through most 
of the sermon, and that night, on 
getting into bed, he turned over the 
pages of the Gospel and found once 
more the passage. Though he believed 
implicitly everything he saw in print, 
he had learned already that in the 
Bible things that said one thing quite 
clearly often mysteriously meant an- 
other. There was no one he liked to 
ask at school, so he kept the question 
he had in mind till the Christmas 
holidays, and then one day he made 
an opportunity. It was after supper 
and prayers were just finished. Mrs. 
Carey was counting the eggs that Mary 
Ann had brought in as usual and 
writing on each one the date. Philip 
stood at the table and pretended to 



36 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



turn listlessly the pages of the Bible. 

"I say, Uncle William, this passage 
here, does it really mean that?" 

He put his finger against it as 
though he had come across it acciden- 
tally. 

Mr. Carey looked up over his 
spectacles. He was holding The 
Blackstahle Times in front of the 
fire. It had come in that evening damp 
from the press, and the Vicar always 
aired it for ten minutes before he be- 
gan to read. 

'What passage is that?" he asked. 

"Why, this about if you have faith 
you can remove mountains." 

"If it says so in the Bible it is so, 
Philip," said Mrs. Carey gently, tak- 
ing up the plate-basket. 

Philip looked at his uncle for an 
answer. 

"It's a matter of faith." 

"D'you mean to say that if you 
really believed you could move moun- 
tains you could?" 

"By the grace of God," said the 
Vicar. 

"Now, say good-night to your 
uncle, Philip," said Aunt Louisa. 
"You're not wanting to move a moun- 
tain tonight, are you?" 

Philip allowed himself to be kissed 
on the forehead by his uncle and pre- 
ceded Mrs. Carey upstairs. He had 
got the information he wanted. His 
httle room was icy, and he shivered 
when he put on his nightgown. But 
he always felt that his prayers were 
more pleasing to God when he said 
them under conditions of discomfort. 
The coldness of his hands and feet 
were an offering to the Almighty. 
And tonight he sank on his knees, 
buried his face in his hands, and 
prayed to God with all his might that 
He would make his club-foot whole. 
It was a very small thing beside the 
moving of mountains. He knew that 



God could do it if He wished, and 
his own faith was complete. 
Next morning, finishing his prayers 
with the same request, he fixed a date 
for the miracle. 

"Oh, God, in Thy loving mercy 
and goodness, if it be Thy will, please 
make my foot all right on the night 
before I go back to school." 

He was glad to get his petition into 
a formula, and he repeated it later in 
the dining-room during the short 
pause which the Vicar always made 
after prayers, before he rose from his 
knees. He said it again in the evening 
and again, shivering in his nightshirt, 
before he got into bed. And he be- 
lieved. For once he looked forward 
with eagerness to the end of the holi- 
days. He laughed to himself as he 
thought of his uncle's astonishment 
when he ran down the stairs three at 
a time; and after breakfast he and 
Aunt Louisa would have to hurry out 
and buy a new pair of boots. At school 
they would be astounded. 

"Hulloa, Carey, what have you 
done with your foot?" 

"Oh, it's all right now," he would 
answer casually, as though it were the 
most natural thing in the world. 

He would be able to play football. 
His heart leaped as he saw himself 
running, running, faster than any of 
the other boys. At the end of the 
Easter term there were the sports, and 
he would be able to go in for the 
races; he rather fancied himself over 
the hurdles. It would be splendid to 
be like everyone else, not to be stared 
at curiously by new boys who did 
not know about his deformity, nor at 
the baths in summer to need 
incredible precautions, while he was 
undressing, before he could hide his 
foot in the water. 

He prayed with all the power of 
his soul. No doubts assailed him. He 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



was confident in the word of God. 
And the night before he was to go 
back to school he went up to bed 
tremulous with excitement. There was 
snow on the ground, and Aunt Louisa 
had allowed herself the un- 
accustomed luxury of a fire in her 
bed-room; but in Philip's little room 
it was so cold that his fingers were 
numb, and he had great difficulty in 
undoing his collar. His teeth 
chattered. The idea came to him that 
he must do something more than 
usual to attract the attention of God, 
and he turned back the rug which was 
in front of his bed so that he could 
kneel on the bare boards; and then 
it struck him that his nightshirt was 
a softness that might displease his 
Maker, so he took it off and said his 
prayers naked. When he got into bed 
he was so cold that for some time 
he could not sleep, but when he did, 
it was so soundly that Mary Ann had 
to shake him when she brought in 
his hot water next morning. 
She talked to him while she drew the 
curtains, but he did not answer; he 
had remembered at once that this was 
the morning for the miracle. His 
heart was filled with joy and gratitude. 
His first instinct was to put down his 
hand and feel the foot which was 
whole now, but to do this seemed to 
doubt the goodness of God. He knew 
that his foot was well. But at last he 
made up his mind, and with the toes 
of his right foot he just touched his 
left. Then he passed his hand over 
it. 

He limped downstairs just as Mary 
Ann was going into the dining-room 
for prayers, and then he sat down to 
breakfast. 

"You're very quiet this morning, 
Philip," said Aunt Louisa presently. 

"He's thinking of the good break- 
fast he'll have at school tomorrow," 



37 

said the Vicar. 

When Philip answered, it was in 
a way that always irritated his uncle, 
with something that had nothing to 
do with the matter in hand. He called 
it a bad habit of wool-gathering. 

"Supposing you'd asked God to do 
something," said Philip, "and really 
believed it was going to happen, like 
moving a mountain, I mean, and you 
had faith, and it didn't happen, 
what would it mean?" 

"What a funny boy you arel" said 
Aunt Louisa. "You asked about mov- 
ing mountains two or three weeks 
ago." 

"It would just mean that you hadn't 
got faith," answered Uncle William. 

Philip accepted the explanation. 
If God had not cured him, it was be- 
cause he did not really believe. And 
yet he did not see how he could be- 
lieve more than he did. But perhaps 
he had not given God enough time. 
He had only asked Him for nineteen 
days. In a day or two he began his 
prayer again, and this time he fixed 
upon Easter. That was the day of His 
Son's glorious resurrection, and God 
in His happiness might be mercifully 
inclined. But now Philip added other 
means of attaining his desire: he be- 
gan to wish, when he saw a new 
moon or a dappled horse, and he 
looked out for shooting stars; during 
exeat they had a chicken at the 
vicarage, and he broke the lucky bone 
with Aunt Louisa and wished again, 
each time that his foot might be made 
whole. He was appealing un- 
consciously to gods older to his race 
than the God of Israel. And he bom- 
barded the Almighty with his prayer, 
at odd times of the day, whenever it 
occurred to him, in identical words 
always, for it seemed to him im- 
portant to make his request in the 
same terms. But presently the feeling 



38 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



came to him that this time also his 
faith would not be great enough. He 
could not resist the doubt that assailed 
him. He made his own experience 
into a general rule. 

"I suppose no one ever has faith 
enough," he said. 

It was like the salt which his nurse 
used to tell him about: you could 
catch any bird by putting salt on his 
tail; and once he had taken a little 



bag of it into Kensington Gardens. 
But he could never get near enough 
to put the salt on a bird's tail. Before 
Easter he had given up the struggle. 
He felt a dull resentment against his 
uncle for taking him in. The text 
which spoke of the moving of moun- 
tains was just one of those that said 
one thing and meant another. He 
thought his uncle had been playing 
a practical joke on him. 



XV 



The King's School at Tercanbury, to 
which Philip went when he was 
thirteen, prided itself on its antiquity. 
It traced its origin to an abbey school, 
founded before the Conquest, where 
the rudiments of learning were taught 
by Augustine monks; and, like many 
another establishment of this sort, on 
the destruction of the monasteries it 
had been reorganised by the officers 
of King Henry VIII and thus ac- 
quired its name. Since then, pursuing 
its modest course, it had given to the 
sons of the local gentry and of the 
professional people of Kent an edu- 
cation sufficient to their needs. One 
or two men of letters, beginning with 
a poet, than whom only Shakespeare 
had a more splendid genius, and end- 
ing with a writer of prose whose view 
of life has affected profoundly the 
generation of which Philip was a 
member, had gone forth from its gates 
to achieve fame; it had produced one 
or two eminent lawyers, but eminent 
lawyers are common, and one or two 
soldiers of distinction; but during the 
three centuries since its separation 
from the monastic order it had trained 
especially men of the church, bishops, 
deans, canons, and above all country 
clergymen: there were boys in the 



school whose fathers, grandfathers, 
great-grandfathers, had been educated 
there and had all been rectors of 
parishes in the diocese of Tercanbury; 
and they came to it with their minds 
made up already to be ordained. But 
there were signs notwithstanding that 
even there changes were coming; for 
a few, repeating what they had heard 
at home, said that the Church was no 
longer what it used to be. It wasn't 
so much the money; but the class of 
people who went in for it weren't the 
same; and two or three boys knew 
curates whose fathers were tradesmen: 
they'd rather go out to the Colonies 
(in those days the Colonies were still 
the last hope of those who could get 
nothing to do in England) than be a 
curate under some chap who wasn't 
a gentleman. At King's School, as at 
Blackstable Vicarage, a tradesman was 
anyone who was not lucky enough 
to own land (and here a fine dis- 
tinction was made between the gentle- 
man farmer and the landowner), or 
did not follow one of the four pro- 
fessions to which it was possible for 
a gentleman to belong. Among the 
day-boys, of whom there were about a 
hundred and fifty, sons of the local 
gentry and of the men stationed at 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



the Depot, those whose fathers were 
engaged in business were made to 
feel the degradation of their state. 

The masters had no patience with 
modern ideas of education, which 
they read of sometimes in The Times 
or The Guardian, and hoped fervently 
that King's School would remain true 
to its old traditions. The dead 
languages were taught with such 
thoroughness that an old boy seldom 
thought of Homer or Virgil in after 
life without a qualm of boredom; and 
though in the common room at dinner 
one or two bolder spirits suggested 
that mathematics were of increasing 
importance, the general feeling was 
that they were a less noble study than 
the classics. Neither German nor 
chemistry was taught, and French 
only by the form-masters; they could 
keep order better than a foreigner, 
and, since they knew the grammar as 
well as any Frenchman, it seemed un- 
important that none of them could 
have got a cup of coffee in the 
restaurant at Boulogne unless the 
waiter had known a little English. 
Geography was taught chiefly by mak- 
ing boys draw maps, and this was a 
favourite occupation, especially when 
the country dealt with was moun- 
tainous: it was possible to waste a 
great deal of time in drawing the 
Andes or the Apennines. The masters, 
graduates of Oxford or Cambridge, 
were ordained and unmarried; if by 
chance they wished to marry they 
could only do so by accepting one 
of the smaller livings at the disposal 
of the Chapter; but for many years 
none of them had cared to leave the 
refined society of Tercanbury, which 
owing to the cavalry Depot had a 
martial as well as an ecclesiastical 
tone, for the monotony of life in a 
country rectory; and they were now all 
men of middle age. 

The headmaster, on the other hand, 



39 

was obliged to be married, and he con- 
ducted the school till age began to 
tell upon him. When he retired he 
was rewarded with a much better liv- 
ing than any of the under-masters 
could hope for, and an honorary 
Canonry. 

But a year before Philip entered 
the school a great change had come 
over it. It had been obvious for some 
time that Dr. Fleming, who had been 
headmaster for the quarter of a cen- 
tury, was become too deaf to continue 
his work to the greater glory of God; 
and when one of the livings on the 
outskirts of the city fell vacant, with 
a stipend of six hundred a year, the 
Chapter offered it to him in such a 
manner as to imply that they thought 
it high time for him to retire. He could 
nurse his ailments comfortably on 
such an income. Two or three curates 
who had hoped for preferment told 
their wives it was scandalous to give 
a parish that needed a young, strong, 
and energetic man to an old fellow 
who knew nothing of parochial work, 
and had feathered his nest already; 
but the mutterings of the unbeneficed 
clergy do not reach the ears of a 
cathedral Chapter. And as for the 
parishioners they had nothing to say 
in the matter, and therefore nobody 
asked for their opinion. The Wesley- 
ans and the Baptists both had chapels 
in the village. 

When Dr. Fleming was thus dis- 
posed of it became necessary to find a 
successor. It was contrary to the tra- 
ditions of the school that one of the 
lower-masters should be chosen. The 
common-room was unanimous in de- 
siring the election of Mr. Watson, 
headmaster of the preparatory school; 
he could hardly be described as al- 
ready a master of King's School, they 
had all known him for twenty years, 
and there was no danger that 
he would make a nuisance of him- 



40 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



self. But the Chapter sprang a sur- 
prise on them. It chose a man called 
Perkins. At first nobody knew who 
Perkins was, and the name favourably 
impressed no one; but before the 
shock of it had passed away, it was 
realised that Perkins was the son of 
Perkins the linendraper. Dr. Fleming 
informed the masters just before din- 
ner, and his manner showed his con- 
sternation. Such of them as were din- 
ing in, ate their meal almost in 
silence, and no reference was made to 
the matter till the servants had left 
the room. Then they set to. The 
names of those present on this occa- 
sion are unimportant, but they had 
been known to generations of school- 
boys as Sighs, Tar, Winks, Squirts, 
and Pat. 

They all knew Tom Perkins. The 
first thing about him was that he was 
not a gentleman. They remembered 
him quite well. He was a small, dark 
boy, with untidy black hair and large 
eyes. He looked like a gipsy. He had 
come to the school as a day-boy, with 
the best scholarship on their endow- 
ment, so that his education had cost 
him nothing. Of course he was bril- 
liant. At every Speech-Day he was 
loaded with prizes. He was their 
show-boy, and they remembered now 
bitterly their fear that he would try 
to get some scholarship at one of the 
larger public schools and so pass out 
of their hands. Dr. Fleming had gone 
to the linendraper his father— they all 
remembered the shop, Perkins and 
Cooper, in St. Catherine's Street— and 
said he hoped Tom would remain 
with them till he went to Oxford. 
The school was Perkins and Cooper's 
best customer, and Mr. Perkins was 
only too glad to give the required as- 
surance. Tom Perkins continued to 
triumph, he was the finest classical 
scholar that Dr. Fleming remembered, 
and on leaving the school took with 



him the most valuable scholarship 
they had to offer. He got another at 
Magdalen and settled down to a bril- 
liant career at the University. The 
school magazine recorded the distinc- 
tions he achieved year after year, and 
when he got his double first Dr. 
Fleming himself wrote a few words 
of eulogy on the front page. It was 
with greater satisfaction that they wel- 
comed his success, since Perkins and 
Cooper had fallen upon evil days: 
Cooper drank like a fish, and just be- 
fore Tom Perkins took his degree the 
linendrapers filed their petition in 
bankruptcy. 

In due course Tom Perkins took 
Holy Orders and entered upon the 
profession for which he was so ad- 
mirably suited. He had been an as- 
sistant master at Wellington and then 
at Rugby. 

But there was quite a difference 
between welcoming his success at 
other schools and serving under his 
leadership in their own. Tar had fre- 
quently given him lines, and Squirts 
had boxed his ears. They could not 
imagine how the Chapter had made 
such a mistake. No one could be ex- 
pected to forget that he was the son 
of a bankrupt linendraper, and the 
alcohohsm of Cooper seemed to in- 
crease the disgrace. It was understood 
that the Dean had supported his can- 
didature with zeal, so the Dean would 
probably ask him to dinner; but would 
the pleasant little dinners in the pre- 
cincts ever be the same when Tom 
Perkins sat at the table? And what 
about the Depot? He really could not 
expect officers and gentlemen to re- 
ceive him as one of themselves. It 
would do the school incalculable 
harm. Parents would be dissatisfied, 
and no one could be surprised if 
there were wholesale withdrawals. 
And then the indignity of calling him 
Mr. Perkins! The masters thought by 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



41 



way of protest of sending in their 
resignations in a body, but the uneasy 
fear that they would be accepted with 
equanimity restrained them. 

"The only thing is to prepare our- 
selves for changes," said Sighs, who 
had conducted the fifth form for five 
and twenty years with unparalleled 
incompetence. 

And when they saw him they were 
not reassured. Dr. Fleming invited 
them to meet him at luncheon. He 
was now a man of thirty-two, tall and 
lean, but with the same wild and un- 
kempt look they remembered on him 
as a boy. His clothes, ill-made and 
shabby, were put on untidily. His hair 
was as black and as long as ever, and 
he had plainly never learned to brush 
it; it fell over his forehead with every 
gesture, and he had a quick movement 
of the hand with which he pushed it 
back from his eyes. He had a black 
moustache and a beard which came 
high up on his face almost to the 
cheek-bones. He talked to the masters 
quite easily, as though he had parted 
from them a week or two before; he 
was evidently delighted to see them. 
He seemed unconscious of the strange- 
ness of the position and appeared not 
to notice any oddness in being ad- 
dressed as Mr. Perkins. 

When he bade them good-bye, one 
of the masters, for something to say, 
remarked that he was allowing himself 
plenty of time to catch his train. 

"I want to go round and have a 
look at the shop," he answered cheer- 
fully. 

There was a distinct embarrassment. 
They wondered that he could be so 
tactless, and to make it worse Dr. 
Fleming had not heard what he said. 
His wife shouted it in his ear. 

*'He wants to go round and look 
at his father's old shop." 

Only Tom Perkins was unconscious 
of the humiliation which the whole 



party felt. He turned to Mrs. Fleming. 

"Who's got it now, d'you know?" 

She could hardly answer. She was 
very angry. 

"It's still a linendraper's," she said 
bitterly. "Grove is the name. We don't 
deal there any more." 

"I wonder if he'd let me go over 
the house." 

"I expect he would if you explain 
who you are." 

It was not till the end of dinner 
that evening that any reference was 
made in the common-room to the sub- 
ject that was in all their minds. Then 
it was Sighs who asked: 

"Well, what did you think of our 
new head?" 

They thought of the conversation 
at luncheon. It was hardly a conver- 
sation; it was a monologue. Perkins 
had talked incessantly. He talked very 
quickly, with a flow of easy words 
and in a deep, resonant voice. He 
had a short, odd little laugh which 
showed his white teeth. They had 
followed him with difficulty, for his 
mind darted from subject to subject 
with a connection they did not always 
catch. He talked of pedagogics, and 
this was natural enough; but he had 
much to say of modem theories in 
Germany which they had never heard 
of and received with misgiving. He 
talked of the classics, but he had been 
to Greece, and he discoursed of 
archaeology; he had once spent a win- 
ter digging; they could not see how 
that helped a man to teach boys to 
pass examinations. He talked of poli- 
tics. It sounded odd to them to hear 
him compare Lord Beaconsfield with 
Alcibiades. He talked of Mr. Glad- 
stone and Home Rule. They realised 
that he was a Liberal. Their hearts 
sank. He talked of German philosophy 
and of French fiction. They could 
not think a man profound whose in- 
terests were so diverse. 



42 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



It was Winks who summed up the 
general impression and put it into a 
form they all felt conclusively damn- 
ing. Winks was the master of the 
upper third, a weak-kneed man with 
drooping eyelids. He was too tall for 
his strength, and his movements were 
slow and languid. He gave an im- 
pression of lassitude, and his nick- 
name was eminently appropriate. 

"He's very enthusiastic," said 
Winks, 

Enthusiasm was ill-bred. Enthusi- 
asm was ungentlemanly. They 
thought of the Salvation Army with 
its braying trumpets and its drums. 
Enthusiasm meant change. They had 
goose-flesh when they thought of all 
the pleasant old habits which stood 
in imminent danger. They hardly 
dared to look forward to the future. 



"He looks more of a gipsy than 
ever," said one, after a pause. 

"I wonder if the Dean and Chapter 
knew that he was a Radical when 
they elected him," another observed 
bitterly. 

But conversation halted. They were 
too much disturbed for words. 

When Tar and Sighs were walking 
together to the Chapter House on 
Speech-Day a week later. Tar, who 
had a bitter tongue, remarked to his 
colleague: 

"Well, we've seen a good many 
Speech-Days here, haven't we? I won- 
der if we shall see another." 

Sighs was more melancholy even 
than usual. 

"If anything worth having comes 
along in the way of a living I don't 
mind when I retire." 



XVI 



A YEAR passed, and when Philip 
came to the school the old masters 
were all in their places; but a good 
many changes had taken place not- 
withstanding their stubborn resistance, 
none the less formidable because it 
was concealed under an apparent de- 
sire to fall in with the new head's 
ideas. Though the form-masters still 
taught French to the lower school, 
another master had come, with a de- 
gree of doctor of philology from the 
University of Heidelberg and a record 
of three years spent in a French lycee, 
to teach French to the upper forms 
and German to anyone who cared to 
take it up instead of Greek. Another 
master was engaged to teach mathe- 
matics more systematically than had 
been found necessary hitherto. 
Neither of these was ordained. This 
was a real revolution, and when the 



pair arrived the older masters received 
them with distrust. A laboratory had 
been fitted up, army classes were in- 
stituted; they all said the character 
of the school was changing. And 
heaven only knew what further proj- 
ects Mr. Perkins turned in that untidy 
head of his. The school was small as 
public schools go, there were not more 
than two hundred boarders; and it 
was difficult for it to grow larger, for 
it was huddled up against the Cathe- 
dral; the precincts, with the exception 
of a house in which some of the 
masters lodged, were occupied by the 
cathedral clergy; and there was no 
more room for building. But Mr. Per- 
kins devised an elaborate scheme by 
which he might obtain sufficient space 
to make the school double its present 
size. He wanted to attract boys from 
London. He thought it would be good 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



43 



for them to be thrown in contact with 
the Kentish lads, and it would sharpen 
the country wits o£ these. 

"It's against all our traditions," said 
Sighs, when Mr. Perkins made the 
suggestion to him. "We've rather gone 
out of our way to avoid the con- 
tamination of boys from London." 

"Oh, what nonsense!" said Mr. Per- 
kins. 

No one had ever told the form- 
master before that he talked nonsense, 
and he was meditating an acid reply, 
in which perhaps he might insert a 
veiled reference to hosiery, when Mr. 
Perkins in his impetuous way attacked 
him outrageously. 

"That house in the Precincts— if 
you'd only marry I'd get the Chapter 
to put another couple of stories on, 
and we'd make dormitories and studies, 
and your wife could help you." 

The elderly clergyman gasped. 
Why should he marry? He was fifty- 
seven, a man couldn't marry at fifty- 
seven. He couldn't start looking after 
a house at his time of life. He didn't 
want to marry. If the choice lay be- 
tween that and the country living he 
would much sooner resign. All he 
wanted now was peace and quietness. 

"I'm not thinking of marrying," he 
said. 

Mr. Perkins looked at him with his 
dark, bright eyes, and if there was a 
twinkle in them poor Sighs never saw 
it. 

"What a pity! Couldn't you marry 
to oblige me? It would help me a 
great deal with the Dean and Chapter 
when I suggest rebuilding your house." 

But Mr. Perkins' most unpopular 
innovation was his system of taking 
occasionally another man's form. He 
asked it as a favour, but after all it 
was a favour which could not be re- 
fused, and as Tar, otherwise Mr. 
Turner, said, it was undignified for 
all parties. He gave no warning, but 



after morning prayers would say to 
one of the masters: 

"I wonder if you'd mind taking the 
Sixth today at eleven. We'll change 
over, shall we?" 

They did not know whether this 
was usual at other schools, but cer- 
tainly it had never been done at Ter- 
canbury. The results were curious. 
Mr. Turner, who was the first victim, 
broke the news to his form that the 
headmaster would take them for Latin 
that day, and on the pretence that 
they might like to ask him a question 
or two so that they should not make 
perfect fools of themselves, spent the 
last quarter of an hour of the history 
lesson in construing for them the pas- 
sage of Livy which had been set for 
the day; but when he rejoined his 
class and looked at the paper on 
which Mr. Perkins had written the 
marks, a surprise awaited him; for the 
two boys at the top of the form seemed 
to have done very ill, while others 
who had never distinguished them- 
selves before were given full marks. 
WTien he asked Eldridge, his cleverest 
boy, what was the meaning of this 
the answer came sullenly: 

"Mr. Perkins never gave us any con- 
struing to do. He asked me what I 
knew about General Gordon." 

Mr. Turner looked at him in as- 
tonishment. The boys evidently felt 
they had been hardly used, and he 
could not help agreeing with their 
silent dissatisfaction. He could not 
see either what General Gordon had 
to do with Livy. He hazarded an en- 
quiry afterwards. 

"Eldridge was dreadfully put out 
because you asked him what he knew 
about General Gordon," he said to 
the headmaster, with an attempt at a 
chuckle. 

Mr. Perkins laughed. 

"I saw they'd got to the agrarian 
laws of Caius Gracchus, and I won- 



44 

dered if they knew anything about the 
agrarian troubles in Ireland. But all 
they knew about Ireland was that 
Dublin was on the LifFey. So I won- 
dered if they'd ever heard of General 
Gordon." 

Then the horrid fact was disclosed 
that the new head had a mania for 
general information. He had doubts 
about the utility of examinations on 
subjects which had been crammed for 
the occasion. He wanted common 
sense. 

Sighs grew more worried every 
month; he could not get the thought 
out of his head that Mr. Perkins 
would ask him to fix a day for his 
marriage; and he hated the attitude 
the head adopted towards classical lit- 
erature. There was no doubt that he 
was a fine scholar, and he was engaged 
on a work which was quite in the 
right tradition: he was writing a 
treatise on the trees in Latin literature; 
but he talked of it flippantly, as 
though it were a pastime of no great 
importance, like billiards, which en- 
gaged his leisure but was not to be 
considered with seriousness. And 
Squirts, the master of the middle-third, 
grew more ill-tempered every day. 

It was in his form that Philip was 
put on entering the school. The Rev. 
B. B. Gordon was a man by nature 
ill-suited to be a schoolmaster: he was 
impatient and choleric. With no one 
to call him to account, with only small 
boys to face him, he had long lost all 
power of self-control. He began his 
work in a rage and ended it in a pas- 
sion. He was a man of middle height 
and of a corpulent figure; he had 
sandy hair, worn very short and now 
growing gray, and a small bristly 
moustache. His large face, with indis- 
tinct features and small blue eyes, was 
naturally red, but during his frequent 
attacks of anger it grew dark and pur- 
ple. His nails were bitten to the quick, 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



for while some trembling boy was con- 
struing he would sit at his desk shaking 
with the fury that consumed him, and 
gnaw his fingers. Stories, perhaps ex- 
aggerated, were told of his violence, 
and two years before there had been 
some excitement in the school when 
it was heard that one father was threat- 
ening a prosecution: he had boxed 
the ears of a boy named Walters with 
a book so violently that his hearing was 
affected and the boy had to be taken 
away from the school. The boy's father 
lived in Tercanbury, and there had 
been much indignation in the city, 
the local paper had referred to the 
matter; but Mr. Walters was only a 
brewer, so the sympathy was divided. 
The rest of the boys, for reasons best 
known to themselves, though they 
loathed the master, took his side in 
the affair, and, to show their indigna- 
tion that the school's business had 
been dealt with outside, made things 
as uncomfortable as they could for 
Walters' younger brother, who still re- 
mained. But Mr. Gordon had only 
escaped the country living by the 
skin of his teeth, and he had never 
hit a boy since. The right the masters 
possessed to cane boys on the hand 
was taken away from them, and 
Squirts could no longer emphasize his 
anger by beating his desk with the 
cane. He never did more now than 
take a boy by the shoulders and shake 
him. He still made a naughty or re- 
fractory lad stand with one arm 
stretched out for anything from ten 
minutes to half an hour, and he was 
as violent as before with his tongue. 
No master could have been more 
unfitted to teach things to so shy a boy 
as Philip. He had come to the school 
with fewer terrors than he had when 
first he went to Mr. Watson's. He 
knew a good many boys who had 
been with him at the preparatory 
school. He felt more grown-up, and 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



45 



instinctively realised that among the 
larger numbers his deformity would 
be less noticeable. But from the first 
day Mr. Gordon struck terror in his 
heart; and the master, quick to discern 
the boys who were frightened of him, 
seemed on that account to take a 
peculiar dislike to him. Philip had 
enjoyed his work, but now he began 
to look upon the hours passed in 
school with horror. Rather than risk 
an answer which might be wrong 
and excite a storm of abuse from the 
master, he would sit stupidly silent, 
and when it came towards his turn to 
stand up and construe he grew sick 
and white with apprehension. His 
happy moments were those when Mr. 
Perkins took the form. He was able 
to gratify the passion for general 
knowledge which beset the head- 
master; he had read all sorts of strange 
books beyond his years, and often Mr. 
Perkins, when a question was going 
round the room, would stop at Philip 
with a smile that filled the boy with 
rapture, and say: 

"Now, Carey, you tell them." 

The good marks he got on these 
occasions increased Mr. Gordon's in- 
dignation. One day it came to Philip's 
turn to translate, and the master sat 
there glaring at him and furiously bit- 
ing his thumb. He was in a ferocious 
mood. Philip began to speak in a low 
voice. 

"Don't mumble," shouted the mas- 
ter. 

Something seemed to stick in 
PhiHp's throat. 

"Go on. Go on. Go on." 

Each time the words were screamed 
more loudly. The effect was to drive 
all he knew out of Philip's head, and 
he looked at the printed page vacantly. 
Mr. Gordon began to breathe heavily. 

"If you don't know why don't you 
say sor' Do you know it or not? Did 
you hear all this construed last time 



or not? Why don't you speak? Speak, 
you blockhead, speak!" 

The master seized the arms of his 
chair and grasped them as though to 
prevent himself from falling upon 
Philip. They knew that in past days 
he often used to seize boys by the 
throat till they almost choked. The 
veins in his forehead stood out and 
his face grew dark and threatening. 
He was a man insane. 

Philip had known the passage per- 
fectly the day before, but now he 
could remember nothing. 

"I don't know it," he gasped. 

"Why don't you know it? Let's take 
the words one by one. We'll soon see 
if you don't know it." 

Philip stood silent, very white, 
trembling a little, with his head bent 
down on the book. The master's 
breathing grew almost stertorous. 

"The headmaster says you're clever. 
I don't know how he sees it. General 
information." He laughed savagely. "I 
don't know what they put you in his 
form for. Blockhead." 

He was pleased with the word, and 
he repeated it at the top of his voice. 

"Blockhead! Blockhead! Club- 
footed blockhead!" 

That relieved him a little. He saw 
Philip redden suddenly. He told him 
to fetch the Black Book. Philip put 
down his Caesar and went silently out. 
The Black Book was a sombre volume 
in which the names of boys were 
written with their misdeeds, and when 
a name was down three times it meant 
a caning. Philip went to the head- 
master's house and knocked at his 
study-door. Mr. Perkins was seated at 
his table. 

"May I have the Black Book, please, 
sir." 

"There it is," answered Mr. Perkins, 
indicating its place by a nod of his 
head. "What have you been doing that 
you shouldn't?" 



46 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"I don't know, sir." 

Mr. Perkins gave him a quick look, 
but without answering went on with 
his work. PhiHp took the book and 
went out. When the hour was up, a 
few minutes later, he brought it back. 

"Let me have a look at it," said the 
headmaster. "I see Mr. Gordon has 
black-booked you for 'gross imperti- 
nence.' What was it?" 

"I don't know, sir. Mr. Gordon said 
I was a club-footed blockhead." 

Mr. Perkins looked at him again. 
He wondered whether there was sar- 
casm behind the boy's reply, but he 
was still much too shaken. His face 
was white and his eyes had a look of 
terrified distress. Mr. Perkins got up 
and put the book down. As he did so 
he took up some photographs. 

"A friend of mine sent me some 
pictures of Athens this morning," he 



said casually. "Look here, there's the 
Acropolis." 

He began explaining to Philip 
what he saw. The ruin grew vivid with 
his words. He showed him the theatre 
of Dionysus and explained in what 
order the people sat, and how beyond 
they could see the blue Aegean. And 
then suddenly he said: 

"I remember Mr, Gordon used to 
call me a gipsy counterjumper when 
I was in his form." 

And before Philip, his mind fixed 
on the photographs, had time to gather 
the meaning of the remark, Mr. Per- 
kins was showing him a picture of 
Salamis, and with his finger, a finger 
of which the nail had a little black 
edge to it, was pointing out how the 
Greek ships were placed and how the 
Persian. 



XVII 



Philip passed the next two years 
with comfortable monotony. He was 
not bullied more than other boys of his 
size; and his deformity, withdrawing 
him from games, acquired for him an 
insignificance for which he was grate- 
ful. He was not popular, and he was 
very lonely. He spent a couple of 
terms with Winks in the Upper Third. 
Winks, with his weary manner and 
his drooping eyelids, looked infinitely 
bored. He did his duty, but he did it 
with an abstracted mind. He was 
kind, gentle, and foolish. He had a 
great belief in the honour of boys; he 
felt that the first thing to make them 
truthful was not to let it enter your 
head for a moment that it was possible 
for them to lie. "Ask much," he 
quoted, "and much shall be given to 
you." Life was easy in the Upper 



Third. You knew exactly what lines 
would come to your turn to construe, 
and with the crib that passed from 
hand to hand you could find out all 
you wanted in two minutes; you could 
hold a Latin Grammar open on your 
knees while questions were passing 
round; and Winks never noticed any- 
thing odd in the fact that the same 
incredible mistake was to be found 
in a dozen different exercises. He had 
no great faith in examinations, for he 
noticed that boys never did so well in 
them as in form: it was disappointing, 
but not significant. In due course they 
were moved up, having learned little 
but a cheerful effrontery in the dis- 
tortion of truth, which was possibly 
of greater service to them in after life 
than an ability to read Latin at sight. 
Then they fell into the hands of 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



47 



Tar. His name was Turner; he was 
the most vivacious of the old masters, 
a short man with an immense belly, a 
black beard turning now to gray, and 
a swarthy skin. In his clerical dress 
there was indeed something in him 
to suggest the tar-barrel; and though 
on principle he gave five hundred 
lines to any boy on whose lips he 
overheard his nickname, at dinner- 
parties in the precincts he often made 
little jokes about it. He was the most 
worldly of the masters; he dined out 
more frequently than any of the oth- 
ers, and the society he kept was not 
so exclusively clerical. The boys 
looked upon him as rather a dog. He 
left off his clerical attire during the 
holidays and had been seen in Swit- 
zerland in gay tweeds. He liked a 
bottle of wine and a good dinner, and 
having once been seen at the Cafe 
Royal with a lady who was very prob- 
ably a near relation, was thencefor- 
ward supposed by generations of 
schoolboys to indulge in orgies the 
circumstantial details of which pointed 
to an unbounded belief in human 
depravity. 

Mr. Turner reckoned that it took 
him a term to lick boys into shape 
after they had been in the Upper 
Third; and now and then he let fall 
a sly hint, which showed that he knew 
perfectly what went on in his col- 
league's form. He took it good-hu- 
mouredly. He looked upon boys as 
young ruffians who were more apt to 
be truthful if it was quite certain a 
lie would be found out, whose sense 
of honour was peculiar to themselves 
and did not apply to deahngs with 
masters, and who were least likely to 
be troublesome when they learned 
that it did not pay. He was proud of 
his form and as eager at fifty-five that 
it should do better in examinations 
than any of the others as he had been 
when he first came to the school. He 



had the choler of the obese, easily 
roused and as easily calmed, and his 
boys soon discovered that there was 
much kindliness beneath the invective 
with which he constantly assailed 
them. He had no patience with fools, 
but was willing to take much trouble 
with boys whom he suspected of con- 
cealing intelligence behind their wil- 
fulness. He was fond of inviting them 
to tea; and, though vowing they never 
got a look in with him at the cakes 
and muffins, for it was the fashion 
to believe that his corpulence pointed 
to a voracious appetite, and his vora- 
cious appetite to tapeworms, they ac- 
cepted his invitations with real pleas- 
ure. 

Philip was now more comfortable, 
for space was so limited that there 
were only studies for boys in the upper 
school, and till then he had lived in 
the great hall in which they all ate 
and in which the lower forms did 
preparation in a promiscuity which 
was vaguely distasteful to him. Now 
and then it made him restless to be 
with people and he wanted urgently 
to be alone. He set out for solitary 
walks into the country. There was a 
little stream, with pollards on both 
sides of it, that ran through green 
fields, and it made him happy, he 
knew not why, to wander along its 
banks. When he was tired he lay face- 
downward on the grass and watched 
the eager scurrying of minnows and 
of tadpoles. It gave him a peculiar 
satisfaction to saunter round the pre- 
cincts. On the green in the middle 
they practised at nets in the summer, 
but during the rest of the year it was 
quiet: boys used to wander round 
sometimes arm in arm, or a studious 
fellow with abstracted gaze walked 
slowly, repeating to himself something 
he had to learn by heart. There was 
a colony of rooks in the great elms, 
and they filled the air with melancholy 



48 

cries. Along one side lay the Cathedral 
with its great central tower, and Philip, 
who knew as yet nothing of beauty, 
felt when he looked at it a troubling 
delight which he could not under- 
stand. When he had a study (it was 
a little square room looking on a slum, 
and four boys shared it), he bought 
a photograph of that view of the 
Cathedral, and pinned it up over his 
desk. And he found himself taking a 
new interest in what he saw from the 
window of the Fourth Form room. 
It looked on to old lawns, carefully 
tended, and fine trees with foliage 
dense and rich. It gave him an odd 
feeling in his heart, and he did not 
know if it was pain or pleasure. It 
was the first dawn of the aesthetic emo- 
tion. It accompanied other changes. 
His voice broke. It was no longer quite 
under his control, and queer sounds 
issued from his throat. 

Then he began to go to the classes 
which were held in the headmaster's 
study, immediately after tea, to pre- 
pare boys for confirmation. Philip's 
piety had not stood the test of time, 
and he had long since given up his 
nightly reading of the Bible; but now, 
under the influence of Mr. Perkins, 
with this new condition of the body 
which made him so restless, his old 
feelings revived, and he reproached 
himself bitterly for his backsliding. 
The fires of Hell burned fiercely be- 
fore his mind's eye. If he had died 
during that time when he was little 
better than an infidel he would have 
been lost; he believed implicitly in 
pain everlasting, he believed in it 
much more than in eternal happiness; 
and he shuddered at the dangers he 
had run. 

Since the day on which Mr. Per- 
kins had spoken kindly to him, when 
he was smarting under the particular 
form of abuse which he could least 
bear, Philip had conceived for his 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



headmaster a dog-like adoration. He 
racked his brains vainly for some way 
to please him. He treasured the small- 
est word of commendation which by 
chance fell from his lips. And when 
he came to the quiet little meetings 
in his house he was prepared to sur- 
render himself entirely. He kept his 
eyes fixed on Mr. Perkins' shining 
eyes, and sat with mouth half open, 
his head a little thrown forward so as 
to miss no word. The ordinariness of 
the surroundings made the matters 
they dealt with extraordinarily moving. 
And often the master, seized himself by 
the wonder of his subject, would push 
back the book in front of him, and 
with his hands clasped together over j 
his heart, as though to still the beat- ! 
ing, would talk of the mysteries of 
their religion. Sometimes Philip did 
not understand, but he did not want 
to understand, he felt vaguely that it 
was enough to feel. It seemed to him 
then that the headmaster, with his 
black, straggling hair and his pale face, 
was like those prophets of Israel who 
feared not to take kings to task; and 1 
when he thought of the Redeemer he 
saw Him only with the same dark 
eyes and those wan cheeks. 

Mr. Perkins took this part of his 
work with great seriousness. There 
was never here any of that flashing 
humour which made the other masters 
suspect him of flippancy. Finding 
time for everything in his busy day, 
he was able at certain intervals to take 
separately for a quarter of an hour 
or twenty minutes the boys whom he J 
was preparing for confirmation. He 
wanted to make them feel that this 
was the first consciously serious step 
in their lives; he tried to grope into 
the depths of their souls; he wanted 
to instil in them his own vehement 
devotion. In Philip, notwithstanding 
his shyness, he felt the possibility of 
a passion equal to his own. The boy's 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



49 



temperament seemed to him essen- 
tially religious. One day he broke off 
suddenly from the subject on which 
he had been talking. 

"Have you thought at all what 
you're going to be when you grow 
up?" he asked. 

"My uncle wants me to be or- 
dained," said Philip. 

"And you?" 

Philip looked away. He was 
ashamed to answer that he felt him- 
self unworthy. 

"I don't know any life that's so full 
of happiness as ours. I wish I could 
make you feel what a wonderful 
privilege it is. One can serve God in 
every walk, but we stand nearer to 
Him. I don't want to influence you, 
but if you made up your mind— oh, 
at once— you couldn't help feeling that 
joy and relief which never desert one 
again." 

Philip did not answer, but the head- 
master read in his eyes that he realised 
already something of what he tried to 
indicate. 

"If you go on as you are now you'll 
find yourself head of the school one 
of these days, and you ought to be 
pretty safe for a scholarship when you 
leave. Have you got anything of your 
own?" 

"My uncle says I shall have a hun- 
dred a year when I'm twenty-one." 

"You'll be rich. I had nothing." 

The headmaster hesitated a mo- 
ment, and then, idly drawing lines 
with a pencil on the blotting paper in 
front of him, went on. 

"I'm afraid your choice of profes- 
sions will be rather limited. You nat- 
urally couldn't go in for anything that 
required physical activity." 

Philip reddened to the roots of his 
hair, as he always did when any ref- 
erence was made to his club-foot. Mr. 
Perkins looked at him gravely. 

"I wonder if you're not oversensitive 



about your misfortune. Has it ever 
struck you to thank God for it?" 

Philip looked up quickly. His lips 
tightened. He remembered how for 
months, trusting in what they told 
him, he had implored God to heal 
him as He had healed the Leper and 
made the Blind to see. 

"As long as you accept it rebel- 
liously it can only cause you shame. 
But if you looked upon it as a cross 
that was given you to bear only be- 
cause your shoulders were strong 
enough to bear it, a sign of God's 
favour, then it would be a source of 
happiness to you instead of misery." 

He saw that the boy hated to dis- 
cuss the matter and he let him go. 

But Philip thought over all that 
the headmaster had said, and pres- 
ently, his mind taken up entirely with 
the ceremony that was before him, 
a mystical rapture seized him. His 
spirit seemed to free itself from the 
bonds of the flesh and he seemed to 
be living a new hfe. He aspired to 
perfection with all the passion that 
was in him. He wanted to surrender 
himself entirely to the service of God, 
and he made up his mind definitely 
that he would be ordained. When the 
great day arrived, his soul deeply 
moved by all the preparation, by the 
books he had studied and above all 
by the overwhelming influence of the 
head, he could hardly contain himself 
for fear and joy. One thought had 
tormented him. He knew that he 
would have to walk alone through the 
chancel, and he dreaded showing his 
limp thus obviously, not only to the 
whole school, who were attending the 
service, but also to the strangers, peo- 
ple from the city or parents who had 
come to see their sons confirmed. But 
when the time came he felt suddenly 
that he could accept the humiliation 
joyfully; and as he limped up the 
chancel, very small and insignificant 



50 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



beneath the lofty vaulting of the deformity as a sacrifice to the God 
Cathedral, he offered consciously his who loved him. 



XVIII 



But Philip could not live long in the 
rarefied air of the hilltops. What had 
happened to him when first he was 
seized by the religious emotion hap- 
pened to him now. Because he felt so 
keenly the beauty of faith, because 
the desire for self-sacrifice burned in 
his heart with such a gem-like glow, 
his strength seemed inadequate to his 
ambition. He was tired out by the 
violence of his passion. His soul was 
filled on a sudden with a singular 
aridity. He began to forget the pres- 
ence of God which had seemed so 
surrounding; and his religious exer- 
cises, still very punctually performed, 
grew merely formal. At first he 
blamed himself for this falling away, 
and the fear of hell-fire urged him 
to renewed vehemence; but the passion 
was dead, and gradually other interests 
distracted his thoughts. 

Philip had few friends. His habit 
of reading isolated him: it became 
such a need that after being in com- 
pany for some time he grew tired and 
restless; he was vain of the wider 
knowledge he had acquired from the 
perusal of so many books, his mind 
was alert, and he had not the skill 
to hide his contempt for his com- 
panions* stupidity. They complained 
that he was conceited; and, since he 
excelled only in matters which to 
them were unimportant, they asked 
satirically what he had to be conceited 
about. He was developing a sense of 
humour, and found that he had a 
knack of saying bitter things, which 
caught people on the raw; he said 
them because they amused him, hardly 



realising how much they hurt, and 
was much offended when he found 
that his victims regarded him with 
active dislike. The humiliations he 
suffered when first he went to school 
had caused in him a shrinking from 
his fellows which he could never en- 
tirely overcome; he remained shy and 
silent. But though he did everything 
to alienate the sympathy of other boys 
he longed with all his heart for the 
popularity which to some was so easily 
accorded. These from his distance he 
admired extravagantly; and though he 
was inclined to be more sarcastic with 
them than with others, though he 
made little jokes at their expense, he 
would have given anything to change 
places with them. Indeed he would 
gladly have changed places with the 
dullest boy in the school who was 
whole of limb. He took to a singular 
habit. He would imagine that he was 
some boy whom he had a particular 
fancy for; he would throw his soul, 
as it were, into the other's body, talk 
with his voice and laugh with his 
heart; he would imagine himself doing 
all the things the other did. It was so 
vivid that he seemed for a moment 
really to be no longer himself. In this 
way he enjoyed many intervals of 
fantastic happiness. 

At the beginning of the Christmas 
term which followed on his confirma- 
tion Philip found himself moved into 
another study. One of the boys who 
shared it was called Rose. He was in 
the same form as Philip, and Philip 
had always looked upon him with en- 
vious admiration. He was not good- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



51 



looking; though his large hands and 
big bones suggested that he would be 
a tall man, he was clumsily made; but 
his eyes were charming, and when he 
laughed (he was constantly laughing) 
his face wrinkled all round them in a 
jolly way. He was neither clever nor 
stupid, but good enough at his work 
and better at games. He was a favour- 
ite with masters and boys, and he in 
his turn liked everyone. 

When Philip was put in the study 
he could not help seeing that the 
others, who had been together for three 
terms, welcomed him coldly.. It made 
him nervous to feel himself an in- 
truder; but he had learned to hide his 
feelings, and they found him quiet 
and unobtrusive. With Rose, because 
he was as little able as anyone else 
to resist his charm, Philip was even 
more than usually shy and abrupt; 
and whether on account of this, un- 
consciously bent upon exerting the 
fascination he knew was his only by 
the results, or whether from sheer 
kindness of heart, it was Rose who 
first took Philip into the circle. One 
day, quite suddenly, he asked Philip 
if he would walk to the football field 
with him. Philip flushed. 

"I can't walk fast enough for you," 
he said. 

"Rot. Come on." 

And just before they were setting 
out some boy put his head in the 
study-door and asked Rose to go with 
him. 

"I can't," he answered. "I've already 
promised Carey." 

"Don't bother about me," said 
Philip quickly. "I shan't mind." 

"Rot," said Rose. 

He looked at PhiHp with those 
good-natured eyes of his and laughed. 
Philip felt a curious tremor in his 
heart. 

In a little while, their friendship 
grovdng with boyish rapidity, the pair 



were inseparable. Other fellows won- 
dered at the sudden intimacy, and 
Rose was asked what he saw in Philip. 

"Oh, I don't know," he answered. 
"He's not half a bad chap really." 

Soon they grew accustomed to the 
two walking into chapel arm in arm 
or strolling round the precincts in 
conversation; wherever one was the 
other could be found also, and, as 
though acknowledging his proprietor- 
ship, boys who wanted Rose would 
leave messages with Carey. Philip at 
first was reserved. He would not let 
himself yield entirely to the proud 
joy that filled him; but presently his 
distrust of the fates gave way before 
a wild happiness. He thought Rose the 
most wonderful fellow he had ever 
seen. His books now were insignifi- 
cant; he could not bother about them 
when there was something infinitely 
more important to occupy him. Rose's 
friends used to come in to tea in the 
study sometimes or sit about when 
there was nothing better to do— Rose 
liked a crowd and the chance of a rag 
—and they found that Philip was quite 
a decent fellow. Philip was happy. 

When the last day of term came 
he and Rose arranged by which train 
they should come back, so that they 
might meet at the station and have 
tea in the town before returning to 
school. Philip went home with a 
heavy heart. He thought of Rose all 
through the holidays, and his fancy 
was active with the things they would 
do together next term. He was bored 
at the vicarage, and when on the last 
day his uncle put him the usual ques- 
tion in the usual facetious tone : 

"Well, are you glad to be going 
back to school?" 

Philip answered joyfully: 

"Rather." 

In order to be sure of meeting 
Rose at the station he took an earlier 
train than he usually did, and he 



52 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



waited about the platform for an hour. 
When the train came in from Faver- 
sham, where he knew Rose had to 
change, he ran along it excitedly. But 
Rose was not there. He got a porter 
to tell him when another train was 
due, and he waited; but again he was 
disappointed; and he was cold and 
hungry, so he walked, through side- 
streets and slums, by a short cut to 
the school. He found Rose in the 
study, with his feet on the chimney- 
piece, talking eighteen to the dozen 
with half a dozen boys who were sit- 
ting on whatever there was to sit on. 
He shook hands with Philip en- 
thusiastically, but Philip's face fell, 
for he realised that Rose had forgot- 
ten all about their appointment. 

"I say, why are you so late>" said 
Rose. "I thought you were never com- 
ing." 

"You were at the station at half- 
past four,*' said another boy. "I saw 
you when I came." 



Philip blushed a little. He did not 
want Rose to know that he had been 
such a fool as to wait for him. 

"I had to see about a friend of my 
people's," he invented readily. "I was 
asked to see her off." 

But his disappointment made him 
a little sulky. He sat in silence, and 
when spoken to answered in mono- 
syllables. He was making up his mind 
to have it out with Rose when they 
were alone. But when the others had 
gone Rose at once came over and sat 
on the arm of the chair in which 
Philip was lounging. 

"I say, I'm jolly glad we're in the 
same study this term. Ripping, isn't 

itr 

He seemed so genuinely pleased to 
see Phihp that Philip's annoyance van- 
ished. They began as if they had not 
been separated for five minutes to talk 
eagerly of the thousand things that 
interested them. 



XIX 



At first Philip had been too grate- 
ful for Rose's friendship to make any 
demands on him. He took things as 
they came and enjoyed life. But pres- 
ently he began to resent Rose's univer- 
sal amiability; he wanted a more exclu- 
sive attachment, and he claimed as a 
right what before he had accepted as 
a favour. He watched jealously Rose's 
companionship with others; and 
though he knew it was unreasonable 
could not help sometimes saying bit- 
ter things to him. If Rose spent an 
hour playing the fool in another study, 
Philip would receive him when he 
returned to his own with a sullen 
frown. He would sulk for a day, and 



he suffered more because Rose either 
did not notice his ill-humour or de- 
liberately ignored it. Not seldom 
Philip, knowing all the time how 
stupid he was, would force a quarrel, 
and they would not speak to one an- 
other for a couple of days. But Philip I 
could not bear to be angry with him i 
long, and even when convinced that 
he was in the right, would apologise 
humbly. Then for a week they would 
be as great friends as ever. But the 
best was over, and Philip could see 
that Rose often walked with him 
merely from old habit or from fear of 
his anger; they had not so much to 
say to one another as at first, and Rose 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



53 



was often bored. Philip felt that his 
lameness began to irritate him. 

Towards the end of the term two or 
three boys caught scarlet fever, and 
there was much talk of sending them 
all home in order to escape an epi- 
demic; but the sufferers were isolated, 
and since no more were attacked it 
was supposed that the outbreak was 
stopped. One of the stricken was 
Philip. He remained in hospital 
through the Easter holidays, and at 
the beginning of the summer term was 
sent home to the vicarage to get a 
Httle fresh air. The Vicar, notwith- 
standing medical assurance that the 
boy was no longer infectious, received 
him with suspicion; he thought it very 
inconsiderate of the doctor to suggest 
that his nephew's convalescence 
should be spent by the seaside, and 
consented to have him in the house 
only because there was nowhere else 
he could go. 

Philip went back to school at half- 
term. He had forgotten the quarrels 
he had had with Rose, but remem- 
bered only that he was his greatest 
friend. He knew that he had been 
silly. He made up his mind to be 
more reasonable. During his illness 
Rose had sent him in a couple of 
Httle notes, and he had ended each 
with the words: "Hurry up and come 
back." Philip thought Rose must be 
looking forward as much to his return 
as he was himself to seeing Rose. 

He found that owing to the death 
from scarlet fever of one of the boys 
in the Sixth there had been some 
shifting in the studies and Rose was 
no longer in his. It was a bitter dis- 
appointment. But as soon as he arrived 
he burst into Rose's study. Rose was 
sitting at his desk, working with a boy 
called Hunter, and turned round 
crossly as Philip came in. 

"Who the devil's that?" he cried. 



And then, seeing Philip: "Oh, it's 
you." 

Philip stopped in embarrassment. 

"I thought I'd come in and see how 
you were." 

"We were just working." 

Hunter broke into the conversation. 

"When did you get backr"" 

"Five minutes ago." 

They sat and looked at him as 
though he was disturbing them. They 
evidently expected him to go quickly. 
Philip reddened. 

"I'll be off. You might look in when 
you've done," he said to Rose. 

"All right." 

Philip closed the door behind him 
and limped back to his own study. He 
felt frightfully hurt. Rose, far from 
seeming glad to see him, had looked 
almost put out. They might never 
have been more than acquaintances. 
Though he waited in his study, not 
leaving it for a moment in case just 
then Rose should come, his friend 
never appeared; and next morning 
when he went into prayers he saw 
Rose and Hunter swinging along arm 
in arm. What he could not see for 
himself others told him. He had for- 
gotten that three months is a long time 
in a school-boy's life, and though he 
had passed them in soHtude Rose had 
lived in the world. Hunter had 
stepped into the vacant place. Philip 
found that Rose was quietly avoiding 
him. But he was not the boy to accept 
a situation without putting it into 
words; he waited till he was sure Rose 
was alone in his study and went in. 

"May I come in?" he asked. 

Rose looked at him with an embar- 
rassment that made him angry with 
Philip. 

"Yes, if you want to." 

"It's very kind of you," said Philip 
sarcastically. 

"What d'you want?" 



54 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"I say, why have you been so rotten 
since I came backr"" 

"Oh, don't be an ass," said Rose. 

"I don't know what you see in 
Hunter." 

"That's my business." 

Phihp looked down. He could not 
bring himself to say what was in his 
heart. He was afraid of humiliating 
himself. Rose got up. 

"I've got to go to the Gym," he said. 

When he was at the door Philip 
forced himself to speak. 

"I say. Rose, don't be a perfect 
beast." 

"Oh, go to hell." 

Rose slammed the door behind him 
and left Philip alone. Philip shivered 
with rage. He went back to his study 
and turned the conversation over in 
his mind. He hated Rose now, he 
wanted to hurt him, he thought of 
biting things he might have said to 
him. He brooded over the end to their 
friendship and fancied that others 
were talking of it. In his sensitiveness 
he saw sneers and wonderings in other 
fellows' manner when they were not 
bothering their heads with him at all. 
He imagined to himself what they 
were saying. 

"After all, it wasn't likely to last 
long. I wonder he ever stuck Carey 
at all. Bhghter!" 

To show his indifference he struck 
up a violent friendship with a boy 
called Sharp whom he hated and de- 
spised. He was a London boy, with a 
loutish air, a heavy fellow with the 
beginnings of a moustache on his lip 
and bushy eyebrows that joined one 
another across the bridge of his nose. 
He had soft hands and manners too 
suave for his years. He spoke with the 
suspicion of a cockney accent. He was 
one of those boys who are too slack to 
play games, and he exercised great 
ingenuity in making excuses to avoid 
such as were compulsory. He was re- 



garded by boys and masters with a 
vague dislike, and it was from arro- 
gance that Philip now sought his so- 
ciety. Sharp in a couple of terms was 
going to Germany for a year. He 
hated school, which he looked upon 
as an indignity to be endured till he 
was old enough to go out into the 
world. London was all he cared for, 
and he had many stories to tell of his 
doings there during the holidays. From 
his conversation— he spoke in a soft, 
deep-toned voice— there emerged the 
vague rumour of the London streets 
by night. Philip listened to him at 
once fascinated and repelled. With his 
vivid fancy he seemed to see the 
surging throng round the pit-door of 
theatres, and the glitter of cheap res- 
taurants, bars where men, half drunk, 
sat on high stools talking with bar- 
maids; and under the street lamps the 
mysterious passing of dark crowds 
bent upon pleasure. Sharp lent him 
cheap novels from Holywell Row, 
which Philip read in his cubicle with 
a sort of wonderful fear. 

Once Rose tried to effect a recon- 
ciliation. He was a good-natured fel- 
low, who did not like having enemies. 

"I say, Carey, why are you being 
such a silly ass? It doesn't do you any 
good cutting me and all that." 

"I don't know what you mean," an- 
swered Philip. 

"Well, I don't see why you 
shouldn't talk." 

*Tou bore me," said Philip. 

"Please yourself." 

Rose shrugged his shoulders and 
left him. Philip was very white, as he 
always became when he was moved, 
and his heart beat violently. When 
Rose went away he felt suddenly sick 
with misery. He did not know why 
he had answered in that fashion. He 
would have given anything to be 
friends with Rose. He hated to have 
quarrelled with him, and now that 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



55 



he saw he had given him pain he was 
very sorry. But at the moment he had 
not been master of himself. It seemed 
that some devil had seized him, forcing 
him to say bitter things against his 
will, even though at the time he 
wanted to shake hands with Rose and 
meet him more than half-way. The 
desire to wound had been too strong 
for him. He had wanted to revenge 
himself for the pain and the humilia- 
tion he had endured. It was pride: it 
was folly too, for he knew that Rose 
would not care at all, while he would 
suffer bitterly. The thought came to 
him that he would go to Rose, and 
say: 

*1 say, I'm sorry I was such a beast. 
I couldn't help it. Let's make it up." 



But he knew he would never be 
able to do it. He was afraid that Rose 
would sneer at him. He was angry 
with himself, and when Sharp came 
in a little while afterwards he seized 
upon the first opportunity to quarrel 
with him. Philip had a fiendish in- 
stinct for discovering other people's 
raw spots, and was able to say things 
that rankled because they were true. 
But Sharp had the last word. 

"I heard Rose talking about you 
to Mellor just now," he said. "Mellor 
said: why didn't you kick him^ It 
would teach him manners. And Rose 
said: I didn't like to. Damned cripple." 

Philip suddenly became scarlet. He 
could not answer, for there was a lump 
in his throat that almost choked him. 



XX 



Philip was moved into the Sixth, 
but he hated school now with all his 
heart, and, having lost his ambition, 
cared nothing whether he did ill or 
well. He awoke in the morning with a 
sinking heart because he must go 
through another day of drudgery. He 
was tired of having to do things because 
he was told; and the restrictions irked 
him, not because they were unreason- 
able, but because they were restrictions. 
He yearned for freedom. He was weary 
of repeating things that he knew al- 
ready and of the hammering away, 
for the sake of a thick-witted fellow, 
at something that he understood from 
the beginning. 

With Mr. Perkins you could work 
or not as you chose. He was at once 
eager and abstracted. The Sixth Form 
room was in a part of the old abbey 
which had been restored, and it had a 
gothic window: Philip tried to cheat 
his boredom by drawing this over and 



over again; and sometimes out of his 
head he drew the great tower of the 
Cathedral or the gateway that led into 
the precincts. He had a knack for 
drawing. Aunt Louisa during her 
youth had painted in water colours, 
and she had several albums filled with 
sketches of churches, old bridges, and 
picturesque cottages. They were often 
shown at the vicarage tea-parties. She 
had once given Philip a paint-box as 
a Christmas present, and he had 
started by copying her pictures. He 
copied them better than anyone could 
have expected, and presently he did 
little pictures of his own. Mrs. Carey 
encouraged him. It was a good way 
to keep him out of mischief, and later 
on his sketches would be useful for 
bazaars. Two or three of them had 
been framed and hung in his bed- 
room. 

But one day, at the end of the 
morning's work, Mr. Perkins stopped 



56 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



him as he was lounging out of the 
form-room. 

"I want to speak to you, Carey." 

PhiHp waited. Mr. Perkins ran his 
lean fingers through his beard and 
looked at Philip. He seemed to be 
thinking over what he wanted to say. 

"What's the matter with you, 
Carey?" he said abruptly. 

Philip, flushing, looked at him 
quickly. But knowing him well by 
now, without answering, he waited 
for him to go on. 

"I've been dissatisfied with you 
lately. You've been slack and inatten- 
tive. You seem to take no interest in 
your work. It's been slovenly and bad." 

"I'm very sorry, sir," said Philip. 

"Is that all you have to say for your- 
self?" 

Philip looked down sulkily. How 
could he answer that he was bored 
to death? 

"You know, this term you'll go 
down instead of up. I shan't give you 
a very good report." 

Philip wondered what he would 
say if he knew how the report was 
treated. It arrived at breakfast, Mr. 
Carey glanced at it indifferently, and 
passed it over to Philip. 

"There's your report. You'd better 
see what it says," he remarked, as he 
ran his fingers through the wrapper 
of a catalogue of second-hand books. 

Philip read it. 

"Is it good?" asked Aunt Louisa. 

"Not so good as I deserve," an- 
swered Philip, with a smile, giving it 
to her, 

"I'll read it afterwards when I've 
got my spectacles," she said. 

But after breakfast Mary Ann came 
in to say the butcher was there, and 
she generally forgot. 

Mr. Perkins went on. 

"I'm disappointed with you. And 
I can't understand. I know you can 
do things if you want to, but you 



don't seem to want to any more. I 
was going to make you a monitor 
next term, but I think I'd better wait 
a bit." 

Philip flushed. He did not like the 
thought of being passed over. He 
tightened his lips. 

"And there's something else. You 
must begin thinking of your scholar- 
ship now. You won't get anything 
unless you start working very seri- 
ously." 

Philip was irritated by the lecture. 
He was angry with the headmaster, 
and angry with himself. 

"I don't think I'm going up to Ox- 
ford," he said. 

"Why not? I thought your idea was 
to be ordained." 

"I've changed my mind." 

"Why?" 

Philip did not answer. Mr. Perkins, 
holding himself oddly as he always 
did, like a figure in one of Perugino's 
pictures, drew his fingers thoughtfully 
through his beard. He looked at 
Philip as though he were trying to 
understand and then abruptly told 
him he might go. 

Apparently he was not satisfied, for 
one evening, a week later, when 
Philip had to go into his study with 
some papers, he resumed the conversa- 
tion; but this time he adopted a dif- 
ferent method: he spoke to Philip not 
as a schoolmaster with a boy but as 
one human being with another. He 
did not seem to care now that Philip's 
work was poor, that he ran small 
chance against keen rivals of carrying 
off the scholarship necessary for him 
to go to Oxford: the important matter 
was his changed intention about his 
life afterwards. Mr. Perkins set him- 
self to revive his eagerness to be or- 
dained. With infinite skill he worked 
on his feelings, and this was easier 
since he was himself genuinely 
moved. Philip's change of mind caused 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



57 



him bitter distress, and he really 
thought he was throwing away his 
chance of happiness in life for he 
knew not what. His voice was very 
persuasive. And Philip, easily moved 
by the emotion of others, very emo- 
tional himself notwithstanding a 
placid exterior— his face, partly by 
nature but also from the habit of all 
these years at school, seldom except 
by his quick flushing showed what he 
felt— Philip was deeply touched by 
what the master said. He was very 
grateful to him for the interest he 
showed, and he was conscience- 
stricken by the grief which he felt 
his behaviour caused him. It was 
subtly flattering to know that with 
the whole school to think about Mr. 
Perkins should trouble with him, but 
at the same time something else in 
him, like another person standing at 
his elbow, clung desperately to two 
words. 

"I won*t. I won't. I won't." 
He felt himself slipping. He was 
powerless against the weakness that 
seemed to well up in him; it was like 
the water that rises up in an empty 
bottle held over a full basin; and he 
set his teeth, saying the words over 
and over to himself. 

"I won't. I won't. I won't." 
At last Mr. Perkins put his hand on 
Philip's shoulder. 

"I don't want to influence you," he 
said. "You must decide for yourself. 
Pray to Almighty God for help and 
guidance." 

When Philip came out of the 
headmaster's house there was a light 
rain falling. He went under the arch- 
way that led to the precincts, there 
was not a soul there, and the rooks 
were silent in the elms. He walked 
round slowly. He felt hot, and the 
rain did him good. He thought over 
all that Mr. Perkins had said, calmly 
now that he was withdrawn from the 



fervour of his personality, and he was 
thankful he had not given way. 

In the darkness he could but 
vaguely see the great mass of the 
Cathedral: he hated it now because 
of the irksomeness of the long services 
which he was forced to attend. The 
anthem was interminable, and you 
had to stand drearily while it was be- 
ing sung; you could not hear the 
droning sermon, and your body 
twitched because you had to sit still 
when you wanted to move about. 
Then Philip thought of the two serv- 
ices every Sunday at Blackstable. 
The church was bare and cold, and 
there was a smell all about one of 
pomade and starched clothes. The 
curate preached once and his uncle 
preached once. As he grew up he had 
learned to know his uncle; Philip was 
downright and intolerant, and he 
could not understand that a man 
might sincerely say things as a clergy- 
man which he never acted up to as 
a man. The deception outraged him. 
His uncle was a weak and selfish 
man, whose chief desire it was to be 
saved trouble. 

Mr. Perkins had spoken to him of 
the beauty of a life dedicated to the 
service of God. Philip knew what sort 
of lives the clergy led in the corner 
of East Anglia which was his home. 
There was the Vicar of Whitestone, a 
parish a little way from Blackstable: 
he was a bachelor and to give himself 
something to do had lately taken up 
farming: the local paper constantly 
reported the cases he had in the 
county court against this one and that, 
labourers he would not pay their 
wages to or tradesmen whom he ac- 
cused of cheating him; scandal said 
he starved his cows, and there was 
much talk about some general action 
which should be taken against him. 
Then there was the Vicar of Feme, a 
bearded, fine figure of a man : his wife 



58 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



had been forced to leave him because 
of his cruelty, and she had filled the 
neighbourhood with stories of his im- 
morality. The Vicar of Surle, a tiny 
hamlet by the sea, was to be seen 
every evening in the public house a 
stone's throw from his vicarage; and 
the churchwardens had been to Mr. 
Carey to ask his advice. There was 
not a soul for any of them to talk to 
except small farmers or fishermen; 
there were long winter evenings when 
the wind blew, whistling drearily 



through the leafless trees, and all 
around they saw nothing but the bare 
monotony of ploughed fields; and 
there was poverty, and there was lack 
of any work that seemed to matter; ev- 
ery kink in their characters had free 
play; there was nothing to restrain 
them; they grew narrow and eccentric: 
Philip knew all this, but in his young 
intolerance he did not offer it as an 
excuse. He shivered at the thought of 
leading such a life; he wanted to get 
out into the world. 



XXI 



Mr. Perkins soon saw that his 
words had had no effect on Philip, and 
for the rest of the term ignored him. 
He wrote a report which was vitriolic. 
When it arrived and Aunt Louisa 
asked Philip what it was like, he an- 
swered cheerfully: 

"Rotten." 

"Is it?" said the Vicar. "I must look 
at it again." 

"Do you think there's any use in 
my staying on at Tercanbury? I should 
have thought it would be better if I 
went to Germany for a bit." 

"What has put that in your head?" 
said Aunt Louisa. 

"Don't you think it's rather a good 
idea?" 

Sharp had already left King's 
School and had written to Philip 
from Hanover. He was really starting 
life, and it made Philip more restless 
to think of it. He felt he could not 
bear another year of restraint. 

"But then you wouldn't get a schol 
arship." 

"I haven't a chance of getting one 
anyhow. And besides, I don't know 
that I particularly want to go to Ox- 
ford." 



"But if you're going to be ordained, 
Philip?" Aunt Louisa exclaimed in 
dismay. 

"I've given up that idea long ago." 

Mrs. Carey looked at him with 
startled eyes, and then, used to self- 
restraint, she poured out another cup 
of tea for his uncle. They did not 
speak. In a moment Philip saw tears 
slowly falling down her cheeks. His 
heart was suddenly wrung because he 
caused her pain. In her tight black 
dress, made by the dressmaker down 
the street, with her wrinkled face and 
pale tired eyes, her gray hair still done 
in the frivolous ringlets of her youth, 
she was a ridiculous but strangely 
pathetic figure. Philip saw it for the 
first time. 

Afterwards, when the Vicar was 
shut up in his study with the curate, 
he put his arms round her waist. 

"I say, I'm sorry you're upset, Aunt 
Louisa," he said. "But it's no good my 
being ordained if I haven't a real 
vocation, is it?" 

"I'm so disappointed, Philip," she 
moaned. "I'd set my heart on it. I 
thought you could be your uncle's 
curate, and then when our time came 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



59 



—after all, we can't last for ever, can 
wer*— you might have taken his place." 

Philip shivered. He was seized with 
panic. His heart beat like a pigeon in 
a trap beating with its wdngs. His aunt 
wept softly, her head upon his shoul- 
der. 

"I wish you'd persuade Uncle Wil- 
liam to let me leave Tercanbury. I'm 
so sick of it." 

But the Vicar of Blackstable did 
not easily alter any arrangements he 
had made, and it had always been 
intended that Philip should stay at 
King's School till he was eighteen, 
and should then go to Oxford. At all 
events he would not hear of Philip 
leaving then, for no notice had been 
given and the term's fee would have 
to be paid in any case. 

"Then will you give notice for me 
to leave at Christmas?" said Philip, 
at the end of a long and often bitter 
conversation. 

"I'll write to Mr. Perkins about it 
and see what he says." 

"Oh, I wish to goodness I were 
twenty-one. It is awful to be at some- 
body else's beck and call." 

"Philip, you shouldn't speak to your 
uncle like that," said Mrs. Carey gen- 

tly; 

"But don't you see that Perkins will 
want me to stay? He gets so much a 
head for every chap in the school." 

"Why don't you want to go to Ox- 
ford?" 

"What's the good if I'm not going 
into the Church?" 

"You can't go into the Church; 
you're in the Church already," said 
the Vicar. 

"Ordained then," replied Philip im- 
patiently. 

"What are you going to be, Philip?" 
asked Mrs. Carey. 

"I don't know. I've not made up 
my mind. But whatever I am, it'll be 
useful to know foreign languages. I 



shall get far more out of a year in 
Germany than by staying on at that 
hole." 

He would not say that he felt Ox- 
ford would be little better than a con- 
tinuation of his life at school. He 
wished immensely to be his own mas- 
ter. Besides he would be known to a 
certain extent among old schoolfel- 
lows, and he wanted to get away from 
them all. He felt that his life at 
school had been a failure. He wanted 
to start fresh. 

It happened that his desire to go 
to Germany fell in with certain ideas 
which had been of late discussed at 
Blackstable. Sometimes friends came 
to stay with the doctor and brought 
news of the world outside; and the 
visitors spending August by the sea had 
their own way of looking at things. 
The Vicar had heard that there were 
people who did not think the old-fash- 
ioned education so useful nowadays 
as it had been in the past, and modem 
languages were gaining an importance 
which they had not had in his own 
youth. His own mind was divided, 
for a younger brother of his had been 
sent to Germany when he failed in 
some examination, thus creating a 
precedent, but since he had there died 
of typhoid it was impossible to look 
upon the experiment as other than 
dangerous. The result of innumerable 
conversations was that Philip should 
go back to Tercanbury for another 
term, and then should leave. With this 
agreement Philip was not dissatisfied. 
But when he had been back a few 
days the headmaster spoke to him. 

"I've had a letter from your uncle. 
It appears you want to go to Germany, 
and he asks me what I think about it." 

Philip was astounded. He was fu- 
rious with his guardian for going back 
on his word. 

"I thought it was settled, sir," he 
said. 



6o 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"Far from it. I've written to say I 
think it the greatest mistake to take 
you away." 

Phihp immediately sat down and 
wrote a violent letter to his uncle. He 
did not measure his language. He was 
so angry that he could not get to 
sleep till quite late that night, and he 
awoke in the early morning and be- 
gan brooding over the way they had 
treated him. He waited impatiently 
for an answer. In two or three days 
it came. It was a mild, pained letter 
from Aunt Louisa, saying that he 
should not write such things to his 
uncle, who was very much distressed. 
He was unkind and unchristian. He 
must know they were only trying to 
do their best for him, and they were 
so much older than he that they 
must be better judges of what was 
good for him. Philip clenched his 
hands. He had heard that statement 
so often, and he could not see why it 
was true; they did not know the con- 
ditions as he did, why should they 
accept it as self-evident that their 
greater age gave them greater wisdom? 
The letter ended with the information 
that Mr. Carey had withdrawn the 
notice he had given, 

Philip nursed his wrath till the next 
half-holiday. They had them on 
Tuesdays and Thursdays, since on 
Saturday afternoons they had to go to 
a service in the Cathedral. He stopped 
behind when the rest of the Sixth 
went out. 

"May I go to Blackstable this after- 
noon, please, sir?" he asked. 

"No," said the headmaster briefly. 

"I wanted to see my uncle about 
something very important." 

"Didn't you hear me say no?" 

Philip did not answer. He went 
out. He felt almost sick with humilia- 
tion, the humiliation of having to ask 
and the humiliation of the curt re- 
fusal. He hated the headmaster now. 



Philip writhed under that despotism 
which never vouchsafed a reason for 
the most tyrannous act. He was too 
angry to care what he did, and after 
dinner walked down to the station, by 
the back ways he knew so well, just 
in time to catch the train to Black- 
stable. He walked into the vicarage 
and found his uncle and aunt sitting 
in the dining-room. 

"Hulloa, where have you sprung 
from?" said the Vicar. 

It was very clear that he was not 
pleased to see him. He looked a little 
uneasy. 

*1 thought Fd come and see you 
about my leaving. I want to know 
what you mean by promising me one 
thing when I was here, and doing 
something different a week after." 

He was a little frightened at his 
own boldness, but he had made up 
his mind exactly what words to use, 
and, though his heart beat violently, 
he forced himself to say them. 

"Have you got leave to come here 
this afternoon?" 

"No. I asked Perkins and he re- 
fused. If you like to write and tell 
him I've been here you can get me 
into a really fine old row." 

Mrs. Carey sat knitting with trem- 
bling hands. She was unused to 
scenes and they agitated her ex- 
tremely. 

"It would serve you right if I told 
him," said Mr. Carey. 

"If you like to be a perfect sneak 
you can. After writing to Perkins as 
you did you're quite capable of it." 

It was foolish of Philip to say that, 
because it gave the Vicar exactly the 
opportunity he wanted. 

"I'm not going to sit still while you 
say impertinent things to me,** he said 
with dignity. 

He got up and walked quickly out 
of the room into his study. Philip 
heard him shut the door and lock it. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



6l 



"Oh, I wish to God I were twenty- 
one. It is awful to be tied down like 
this." 

Aunt Louisa began to cry quietly. 

"Oh, Philip, you oughtn't to have 
spoken to your uncle like that. Do 
please go and tell him you're sorry." 

"Fm not in the least sorry. He's tak- 
ing a mean advantage. Of course it's 
just waste of money keeping me on 
at school, but what does he care? It's 
not his money. It was cruel to put 
me under the guardianship of people 
who know nothing about things." 

"Philip." 

Philip in his voluble anger stopped 
suddenly at the sound of her voice. 
It was heart-broken. He had not real- 
ised what bitter things he was saying. 

"Philip, how can you be so un- 
kind? You know we are only trying 
to do our best for you, and we know 
that we have no experience; it isn't 
as if we'd had any children of our 
own: that's why we consulted Mr. 
Perkins." Her voice broke. "I've tried 
to be like a mother to you. I've loved 
you as if you were my own son." 

She was so small and frail, there 
was something so pathetic in her old- 
maidish air, that Philip was touched. 
A great lump came suddenly in his 
throat and his eyes filled with tears. 

"I'm so sorry," he said. "I didn't 
mean to be beastly." 

He knelt down beside her and took 
her in his arms, and kissed her wet, 
withered cheeks. She sobbed bitterly, 
and he seemed to feel on a sudden 
the pity of that wasted life. She had 
never surrendered herself before to 
such a display of emotion. 

"I know I've not been what I 
wanted to be to you, Philip, but I 
didn't know how. It's been just as 
dreadful for me to have no children 
as for you to have no mother." 

Philip forgot his anger and his own 
concerns, but thought onlv of con- 



soling her, with broken words and 
clmnsy little caresses. Then the clock 
struck, and he had to bolt off at once 
to catch the only train that would get 
him back to Tercanbury in time for 
call-over. As he sat in the comer of 
the railway carriage he saw that he 
had done nothing. He was angry with 
himself for his weakness. It was des- 
picable to have allowed himself to be 
turned from his purpose by the pomp- 
ous airs of the Vicar and the tears of 
his aunt. But as the result of he knew 
not what conversations between the 
couple another letter was written to 
the headmaster. Mr. Perkins read it 
with an impatient shrug of the shoul- 
ders. He showed it to Philip. It ran: 

Dear Mr. Perkins, 

Forgive me for troubling you again 
about my ward, but both his Aunt 
and I have been uneasy about him. 
He seems very anxious to leave school, 
and his Aunt thinks he is unhappy. 
It is very difficult for us to know what 
to do as we are not his parents. He 
does not seem to think he is doing very 
well and he feels it is wasting his 
money to stay on. 1 should be very 
much obliged if you would have a 
talk to him, and if he is still of the 
same mind perhaps it would be better 
if he left at Christmas as I originally 
intended. 

Yours very truly, 

William Carey. 

Philip gave him back the letter. He 
felt a thrill of pride in his triumph. He 
had got his ov^nn way, and he was 
satisfied. His will had gained a vic- 
tory over the wills of others. 

"It's not much good my spending 
half an hour writing to your uncle 
if he changes his mind the next letter 
he gets from you," said the headmas- 
ter irritably. 

Philip said nothing, and his face 
was perfectly placid; but he could not 



62 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



prevent the twinkle in his eyes. Mr. 
Perkins noticed it and broke into a 
little laugh. 

"YouVe rather scored, haven't you?" 
he said. 

Then Philip smiled outright. He 
could not conceal his exultation. 

"Is it true that you're very anxious 
to leave?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Are you unhappy here?" 

Philip blushed. He hated instinc- 
tively any attempt to get into the 
depths of his feehngs. 

"Oh, I don't know, sir." 

Mr. Perkins, slowly dragging his 
fingers through his beard, looked at 
him thoughtfully. He seemed to 
speak almost to himself. 

"Of course schools are made for 
the average. The holes are all round, 
and whatever shape the pegs are they 
must wedge in somehow. One hasn't 
time to bother about anything but 
the average." Then suddenly he ad- 
dressed himself to Philip: "Look here, 
I've got a suggestion to make to you. 
It's getting on towards the end of the 
term now. Another term won't kill 
you, and if you want to go to Ger- 
many you'd better go after Easter than 
after Christmas. It'll be much pleas- 
anter in the spring than in midwinter. 
If at the end of the next term you still 
want to go I'll make no objection. 
What d'you say to that?" 

"Thank you very much, sir." 

Philip was so glad to have gained 
the last three months that he did not 
mind the extra term. The school 
seemed less of a prison when he knew 
that before Easter he would be free 
from it for ever. His heart danced 
within him. That evening in chapel 
he looked round at the boys, standing 
according to their forms, each in his 
due place, and he chuckled with sat- 
isfaction at the thought that soon he 
would never see them again. It made 



him regard them almost with a 
friendly feeling. His eyes rested on 
Rose. Rose took his position as a moni- 
tor very seriously: he had quite an 
idea of being a good influence in the 
school; it was his turn to read the 
lesson that evening, and he read it 
very well. Philip smiled when he 
thought that he would be rid of him 
for ever, and it would not matter in 
six months whether Rose was tall 
and straight-limbed; and where would 
the importance be that he was a mon- 
itor and captain of the eleven? Philip 
looked at the masters in their gowns. 
Gordon was dead, he had died of 
apoplexy two years before, but all the 
rest were there. Philip knew now 
what a poor lot they were, except 
Turner perhaps, there was something 
of a man in him; and he writhed at 
the thought of the subjection in which 
they had held him. In six months 
they would not matter either. Their 
praise would mean nothing to him, jj 
and he would shrug his shoulders at j 
their censure. 

Philip had learned not to express 
his emotions by outward signs, and 
shyness still tormented him, but he 
had often very high spirits; and then, 
though he limped about demurely, 
silent and reserved, it seemed to be 
hallooing in his heart. He seemed to 
himself to walk more lightly. All sorts 
of ideas danced through his head, 
fancies chased one another so furi- 
ously that he, could not catch them; 
but their coming and their going 
filled him with exhilaration. Now, be- 
ing happy, he was able to work, and 
during the remaining weeks of the 
term set himself to make up for his 
long neglect. His brain worked easily, 
and he took a keen pleasure in the 
activity of his intellect. He did very 
well in the examinations that closed 
the term. Mr. Perkins made only one 
remark: he was talking to him about 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



63 



an essay he had written, and, after 
the usual criticisms, said: 

"So you've made up your mind to 
stop playing the fool for a bit, have 
you?" 

He smiled at him with his shining 
teeth, and Philip, looking down, gave 
an embarrassed smile. 

The half dozen boys who expected 
to divide between them the various 
prizes which were given at the end 
of the summer term had ceased to 
look upon Philip as a serious rival, but 
now they began to regard him with 
some uneasiness. He told no one that 
he was leaving at Easter and so was 
in no sense a competitor, but left 
them to their anxieties. He knew that 
Rose flattered himself on his French, 
for he had spent two or three holidays 
in France; and he expected to get the 
Dean's Prize for English essay; Philip 
got a good deal of satisfaction in 
watching his dismay when he saw 
how much better Philip was doing in 
these subjects than himself. Another 
fellow, Norton, could not go to Ox- 
ford unless he got one of the scholar- 
ships at the disposal of the school. He 
asked Philip if he was going in for 
them. 

"Have vou anv objection?" asked 
Phihp. 

It entertained him to think that he 
held someone else's future in his 
hand. There was something romantic 
in getting these various rewards actu- 
ally in his grasp, and then leaving 
them to others because he disdained 
them. At last the breaking-up day 
came, and he went to Mr. Perkins to 
bid him good-bye. 

"You don't mean to say you really 
want to leave"?" 

Philip's face fell at the headmas- 
ter's evident surprise. 

"You said you wouldn't put any 
objection in the way, sir," he an- 
swered. 



"I thought it was only a whim that 
I'd better humour. I know you're ob- 
stinate and headstrong. What on earth 
d'you want to leave for now? You've 
only got another term in any case. 
You can get the Magdalen scholarship 
easily; you'll get half the prizes we've 
got to give." 

Philip looked at him sullenly. He 
felt that he had been tricked; but he 
had the promise, and Perkins would 
have to stand by it. 

"You'll have a very pleasant time 
at Oxford. You needn't decide at once 
what you're going to do afterwards. I 
wonder if you realise how delightful 
the life is up there for anyone who has 
brains." 

"I've made all my arrangements 
now to go to Gemiany, sir," said 
Philip. 

"Are they arrangements that couldn't 
possibly be altered?" asked Mr. Per- 
kins, with his quizzical smile. "I shall 
be very sorry to lose you. In schools 
the rather stupid boys who work always 
do better than the clever boy who's 
idle, but when the clever boy works- 
why then, he does what you've done 
this term." 

Phihp flushed darkly. He was un- 
used to compliments, and no one had 
ever told him he was clever. The 
headmaster put his hand on Philip's 
shoulder. 

"You know, driving things into the 
heads of thick-witted boys is dull work, 
but when now and then you have the 
chance of teaching a boy who comes 
half-way towards you, who under- 
stands almost before you've got the 
words out of your mouth, why, then 
teaching is the most exhilarating thing 
in the world." 

Philip was melted by kindness; it 
had never occurred to him that it mat- 
tered really to Mr. Perkins whether 
he went or stayed. He was touched 
and immensely flattered. It would be 



64 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



pleasant to end up his school-days with 
glory and then go to Oxford: in a flash 
there appeared before him the life 
which he had heard described from 
boys who came back to play in the 
O.K.S. match or in letters from the 
University read out in one of the 
studies. But he was ashamed; he 
would look such a fool in his own 
eyes if he gave in now; his uncle 
would chuckle at the success of the 
headmaster's ruse. It was rather a 
come-dov^nn from the dramatic sur- 
render of all these prizes which were 
in his reach, because he disdained to 
take them, to the plain, ordinary win- 
ning of them. It only required a little 
more persuasion, just enough to save 
his self-respect, and Philip would have 
done anything that Mr. Perkins 
wished; but his face showed nothing 
of his conflicting emotions. It was 
placid and sullen. 

"I think rd rather go, sir," he said. 

Mr. Perkins, like many men who 
manage things by their personal influ- 
ence, grew a little impatient when his 
power was not immediately manifest. 
He had a great deal of work to do, 
and could not waste more time on a 
boy who seemed to him insanely ob- 
stinate. 

"Very well, I promised to let you 



if you really wanted it, and I keep 
my promise. When do you go to Ger- 
manyr" 

Philip's heart beat violently. The 
battle was won, and he did not know 
whether he had not rather lost it. 

"At the beginning of May, sir," he 
answered. 

"Well, you must come and see us 
when you get back." 

He held out his hand. If he had 
given him one more chance Philip 
would have changed his mind, but he 
seemed to look upon the matter as 
settled. Philip walked out of the 
house. His school-days were over, and 
he was free; but the wild exultation 
to which he had looked forward at 
that moment was not there. He walked 
round the precincts slowly, and a pro- 
found depression seized him. He 
wished now that he had not been 
foolish. He did not want to go, but 
he knew he could never bring him- 
self to go to the headmaster and tell 
him he would stay. That was a humil- 
iation he could never put upon him- 
self. He wondered whether he had 
done right. He was dissatisfied with 
himself and with all his circumstances. 
He asked himself dully whether 
whenever you got your way you 
wished afterwards that you hadn't. 



XXII 



Philip's uncle had an old friend, 
called Miss Wilkinson, who lived in 
Berlin. She was the daughter of a 
clergyman, and it was with her father, 
the rector of a village in Lincolnshire, 
that Mr. Carey had spent his last 
curacy; on his death, forced to earn 
her living, she had taken various situ- 
ations as a governess in France and 
Germany. She had kept up a cor- 



respondence with Mrs. Carey, and 
two or three times had spent her holi- 
days at Blackstable Vicarage, paying 
as was usual with the Careys' unfre- 
quent guests a small sum for her keep. 
When it became clear that it was less 
trouble to yield to Philip's wishes 
than to resist them, Mrs. Carey wrote 
to ask her for advice. Miss Wilkinson 
recommended Heidelberg as an ex- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



65 



cellent place to learn German in and 
the house of Frau Professor Erlin as a 
comfortable home. Philip might live 
there for thirty marks a week, and the 
Professor himself, a teacher at the local 
high school, would instruct him. 

Philip arrived in Heidelberg one 
morning in May. His things were put 
on a barrow and he followed the 
porter out of the station. The sky was 
bright blue, and the trees in the ave- 
nue through which they passed were 
thick with leaves; there was something 
in the air fresh to Philip, and mingled 
with the timidity he felt at entering 
on a new life, among strangers, was a 
great exhilaration. He was a little dis- 
consolate that no one had come to 
meet him, and felt very shy when the 
porter left him at the front door of a 
big white house. An untidy lad let 
him in and took him into a drawing- 
room. It was filled with a large suite 
covered in green velvet, and in the 
middle was a round table. On this in 
water stood a bouquet of flowers 
tightly packed together in a paper frill 
like the bone of a mutton chop, and 
carefully spaced round it were books 
in leather bindings. There was a 
musty smell. 

Presently, with an odour of cook- 
ing, the Frau Professor came in, a 
short, very stout woman with tightly 
dressed hair and a red face; she had 
little eyes, sparkling like beads, and 
an effusive manner. She took Philip's 
hands and asked him about Miss 
Wilkinson, who had twice spent a 
few weeks with her. She spoke in 
German and in broken English. 
Philip could not make her understand 
that he did not know Miss Wilkinson. 
Then her two daughters appeared. 
They seemed hardly young to PhiHp, 
but perhaps they were not more than 
twenty-five: the elder, Thekla, was 
as short as her mother, with the same, 
rather shifty air, but with a pretty 



face and abundant dark hair; Anna, 
her younger sister, was tall and plain, 
but since she had a pleasant smile 
Philip immediately preferred her. 
After a few minutes of polite con- 
versation the Frau Professor took 
Philip to his room and left him. It 
was in a turret, looking over the tops 
of the trees in the Anlage; and the 
bed was in an alcove, so that when 
you sat at the desk it had not the 
look of a bed-room at all. Philip un- 
packed his things and set out all his 
books. He was his own master at last. 
A bell summoned him to dinner at 
one o'clock, and he found the Frau 
Professor's guests assembled in the 
drawing-room. He was introduced to 
her husband, a tall man of middle 
age with a large fair head, turning 
now to gray, and mild blue eyes. He 
spoke to Philip in correct, rather 
archaic English, having learned it 
from a study of the English classics, 
not from conversation; and it was odd 
to hear him use words colloquially 
which Philip had only met in the 
plays of Shakespeare. Frau Professor 
Erlin called her establishment a fam- 
ily and not a pension; but it would 
have required the subtlety of a meta- 
physician to find out exactly where 
the difference lay. When they sat 
down to dinner in a long dark apart- 
ment that led out of the drawing- 
room, Philip, feeling very shy, saw 
that there were sixteen people. The 
Frau Professor sat at one end and 
carved. The service was conducted, 
with a great clattering of plates, by 
the same clumsy lout who had opened 
the door for him; and though he was 
quick, it happened that the first per- 
sons to be served had finished before 
the last had received their appointed 
portions. The Frau Professor insisted 
that nothing but German should be 
spoken, so that Philip, even if his 



66 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



bashfulness had permitted him to be 
talkative, was forced to hold his 
tongue. He looked at the people 
among whom he was to live. By the 
Frau Professor sat several old ladies, 
but Philip did not give them much of 
his attention. There were two young 
girls, both fair and one of them very 
pretty, whom Philip heard addressed 
as Fraulein Hedwig and Fraulein 
Cacilie. Fraulein Cacihe had a long 
pig-tail hanging down her back. They 
sat side by side and chattered to one 
another, with smothered laughter: 
now and then they glanced at Philip 
and one of them said something in 
an undertone; they both giggled, and 
Philip blushed awkwardly, feeling 
that they were making fun of him. 
Near them sat a Chinaman, with a 
yellow face and an expansive smile, 
who was studying Western conditions 
at the University. He spoke so 
quickly, with a queer accent, that the 
girls could not always understand him, 
and then they burst out laughing. He 
laughed too, good-humouredly, and 
his almond eyes almost closed as he 
did so. There were two or three Amer- 
ican men, in black coats, rather yellow 
and dry of skin : they were theological 
students; Philip heard the twang of 
their New England accent through 
their bad German, and he glanced at 
them with suspicion; for he had been 
taught to look upon Americans as 
wild and desperate barbarians. 

Afterwards, when they had sat for 
a little on the stiff green velvet chairs 
of the drawing-room, Fraulein Anna 
asked Philip if he would like to go 
for a walk with them. 

Philip accepted the invitation. 
They were quite a party. There were 
the two daughters of the Frau Pro- 
fessor, the two other girls, one of the 
American students, and Philip. Philip 
walked by the side of Anna and 
Fraulein Hedwig. He was a little 



fluttered. He had never knovm any 
girls. At Blackstable there were only 
the farmers* daughters and the girls of 
the local tradesmen. He knew them 
by name and by sight, but he was 
timid, and he thought they laughed 
at his deformity. He accepted will- 
ingly the difference which the Vicar 
and Mrs. Carey put between their 
own exalted rank and that of the 
farmers. The doctor had two daugh- 
ters, but they were both much older 
than Philip and had been married to 
successive assistants while Philip was 
still a small boy. At school there had 
been two or three girls of more bold- 
ness than modesty whom some of the 
boys knew; and desperate stories, due 
in all probability to the masculine 
imagination, were told of intrigues 
with them; but Philip had always con- 
cealed under a lofty contempt the 
terror with which they filled him. His 
imagination and the books he had 
read had inspired in him a desire for 
the Byronic attitude; and he was torn 
between a morbid self-consciousness 
and a conviction that he owed it to 
himself to be gallant. He felt now 
that he should be bright and amusing, 
but his brain seemed empty and he 
could not for the life of him think 
of anything to say. Fraulein Anna, 
the Frau Professor's daughter, ad- 
dressed herself to him frequently from 
a sense of duty, but the other said 
little : she looked at him now and then 
with sparkling eyes, and sometimes to 
his confusion laughed outright. Philip 
felt that she thought him perfectly 
ridiculous. They walked along the 
side of a hill among pine-trees, and 
their pleasant odour caused Philip a 
keen delight. The day was warm and 
cloudless. At last they came to an 
eminence from which they saw the 
valley of the Rhine spread out before 
them under the sun. It was a vast 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



67 



Stretch of country, sparkling with 
golden light, with cities in the dis- 
tance; and through it meandered the 
silver ribband of the river. Wide 
spaces are rare in the comer of Kent 
which Philip knew, the sea offers the 
only broad horizon, and the immense 
distance he saw now gave him a 
peculiar, an indescribable thrill. He 
felt suddenly elated. Though he did 



not know it, it was the first time that 
he had experienced, quite undiluted 
with foreign emotions, the sense of 
beauty. They sat on a bench, the 
three of them, for the others had gone 
on, and while the girls talked in rapid 
German, Philip, indifferent to their 
proximity, feasted his eyes. 

"By Jove, I am happy," he said to 
himself unconsciously. 



XXIII 



Philip thought occasionally of the 
King's School at Tercanbury, and 
laughed to himself as he remembered 
what at some particular moment of 
the day they were doing. Now and 
then he dreamed that he was there 
still, and it gave him an extraordinary 
satisfaction, on awaking, to realise 
that he was in his little room in the 
turret. From his bed he could see the 
great cumulus clouds that hung in the 
blue sky. He revelled in his freedom. 
He could go to bed when he chose 
and get up when the fancy took him. 
There was no one to order him about. 
It struck him that he need not tell 
any more lies. 

It had been arranged that Professor 
Erlin should teach him Latin and 
German; a Frenchman came every 
day to give him lessons in French; 
and the Frau Professor had recom- 
mended for mathematics an English- 
man who was taking a philological de- 
gree at the University. This was a man 
named Wharton. Philip went to him 
every morning. He lived in one room 
on the top floor of a shabby house. 
It was dirty and untidy, and it was 
filled with a pungent odour made up 
of many different stinks. He was gen- 
erally in bed when Philip arrived at 
ten o'clock, and he jumped out, put 



on a filthy dressing-gown and felt 
slippers, and, while he gave instruc- 
tion, ate his simple breakfast. He was 
a short man, stout from excessive beer 
drinking, with a heavy moustache and 
long, unkempt hair. He had been in 
Germany for five years and was be- 
come very Teutonic. He spoke with 
scorn of Cambridge where he had 
taken his degree and with horror of 
the life which awaited him when, 
having taken his doctorate in Heidel- 
berg, he must return to England and 
a pedagogic career. He adored the life 
of the German University with its 
happy freedom and its jolly compan- 
ionships. He was a member of a 
Burschenschaft, and promised to take 
Philip to a Kneipe. He was very poor 
and made no secret that the lessons 
he was giving Philip meant the dif- 
ference between meat for his dinner 
and bread and cheese. Sometimes 
after a heavy night he had such a 
headache that he could not drink his 
coffee, and he gave his lesson with 
heaviness of spirit. For these occasions 
he kept a few bottles of beer under 
the bed, and one of these and a pipe 
would help him to bear the burden 
of hfe. 

"A hair of the dog that bit him," 
he would say as he poured out the 



68 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



beer, carefully so that the foam should 
not make him wait too long to drink. 

Then he would talk to Philip of 
the University, the quarrels between 
rival corps, the duels, and the merits 
of this and that professor. Philip 
learnt more of life from him than of 
mathematics. Sometimes Wharton 
would sit back with a laugh and say: 

"Look here, we've not done any- 
thing today. You needn't pay me for 
the lesson." 

"Oh, it doesn't matter," said Philip. 

This was something new and very 
interesting, and he felt that it was of 
greater import than trigonometry, 
which he never could understand. It 
was like a window on life that he 
had a chance of peeping through, and 
he looked with a wildly beating heart. 

"No, you can keep your dirty 
money," said Wharton. 

"But how about your dinner?" said 
Philip, with a smile, for he knew 
exactly how his master's finances 
stood. 

Wharton had even asked him to 
pay him the two shillings which the 
lesson cost once a week rather than 
once a month, since it made things 
less complicated. 

"Oh, never mind my dinner. It 
won't be the first time I've dined off 
a bottle of beer, and my mind's never 
clearer than when I do." 

He dived under the bed (the sheets 
were gray with want of washing), 
and fished out another bottle. Philip, 
who was young and did not know the 
good things of life, refused to share it 
with him, so he drank alone. 

"How long are you going to stay 
here?" asked Wharton. 

Both he and Philip had given up 
with relief the pretence of mathemat- 
ics. 

"Oh, I don't know. I suppose about 
a year. Then my people want me to go 



to Oxford." 

Wharton gave a contemptuous 
shrug of the shoulders. It was a new 
experience for Philip to learn that 
there were persons who did not look 
upon that seat of learning with awe. 

"What d'you want to go there for? 
You'll only be a glorified school-boy. 
Why don't you matriculate here? A 
year's no good. Spend five years here. 
You know, there are two good things 
in life, freedom of thought and free- 
dom of action. In France you get 
freedom of action: you can do what 
you like and nobody bothers, but you 
must think like everybody else. In 
Germany you must do what every- 
body else does, but you may think 
as you choose. They're both very 
good things. I personally prefer free- 
dom of thought. But in England you 
get neither: you're ground down by 
convention. You can't think as you 
like and you can't act as you like. 
That's because it's a democratic na- 
tion. I expect America's worse." 

He leaned back cautiously, for the 
chair on which he sat had a ricketty 
leg, and it was disconcerting when a 
rhetorical flourish was interrupted by 
a sudden fall to the floor. 

"I ought to go back to England 
this year, but if I can scrape together 
enough to keep body and soul on 
speaking terms I shall stay another 
twelve months. But then I shall have 
to go. And I must leave all this"— he 
waved his arm round the dirty garret, 
with its unmade bed, the clothes lying 
on the floor, a row of empty beer 
bottles against the wall, piles of un- 
bound, ragged books in every comer 
—"for some provincial university 
where I shall try and get a chair of 
philology. And I shall play tennis 
and go to tea-parties." He interrupted 
himself and gave Philip, very neatly 
dressed, with a clean collar on and 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



69 



his hair well-brushed, a quizzical look. 
"And, my God! I shall have to wash." 

Philip reddened, feeling his own 
spruceness an intolerable reproach; for 
of late he had begun to pay some 
attention to his toilet, and he had 
come out from England with a pretty 
selection of ties. 

The summer came upon the 
country like a conqueror. Each day 
was beautiful. The sky had an arro- 
gant blue which goaded the nerves 
like a spur. The green of the trees 
in the Anlage was violent and crude; 
and the houses, when the sun caught 
them, had a dazzling white which 
stimulated till it hurt. Sometimes on 
his way back from Wharton Philip 
would sit in the shade on one of the 
benches in the Anlage, enjoying the 
coolness and watching the patterns of 
light which the sun, shining through 
the leaves, made on the ground. His 
soul danced with delight as gaily as 
the sunbeams. He revelled in those 
moments of idleness stolen from his 
work. Sometimes he sauntered through 
the streets of the old town. He looked 
with awe at the students of the corps, 
their cheeks gashed and red, who 
swaggered about in their coloured 
caps. In the afternoons he wandered 
about the hills with the girls in the 
Frau Professor's house, and some- 
times they went up the river and had 
tea in a leafy beer-garden. In the eve- 
nings they walked round and round 
the Stadtgarten, hstening to the band. 

Philip soon learned the various in- 
terests of the household. Fraulein 
Thekla, the professor's elder daughter, 
was engaged to a man in England 
who had spent twelve months in the 
house to learn German, and their mar- 
riage was to take place at the end of 
the year. But the young man wrote 
that his father, an india-rubber mer- 
chant who lived in Slough, did not 



approve of the union, and Fraulein 
Thekla was often in tears. Sometimes 
she and her mother might be seen, 
with stern eyes and determined 
mouths, looking over the letters of the 
reluctant lover. Thekla painted in 
water colour, and occasionally she and 
Philip, with another of the girls to 
keep them company, would go out 
and paint little pictures. The pretty 
Fraulein Hedwig had amorous 
troubles too. She was the daughter of 
a merchant in Berlin and a dashing 
hussar had fallen in love with her, 
a von if you please: but his parents 
opposed a marriage with a person of 
her condition, and she had been sent 
to Heidelberg to forget him. She could 
never, never do this, and corresponded 
with him continually, and he was 
making every effort to induce an ex- 
asperating father to change his mind. 
She told all this to Philip with pretty 
sighs and becoming blushes, and 
showed him the photograph of the 
gay lieutenant. Philip liked her best 
of all the girls at the Frau Professor's, 
and on their walks always tried to get 
by her side. He blushed a great deal 
when the others chaffed him for his 
obvious preference. He made the first 
declaration in his life to Fraulein Hed- 
wig, but unfortunately it was an 
accident, and it happened in this 
manner. In the evenings when they 
did not go out, the young women 
sang little songs in the green velvet 
drawing-room, while Fraulein Anna, 
who always made herself useful, in- 
dustriously accompanied. Fraulein 
Hedwig's favourite song was called 
Ich liehe dich, I love you; and one 
evening after she had sung this, when 
Philip was standing with her on the 
balcony, looking at the stars, it oc- 
curred to him to make some remark 
about it. He began : 
"Ich liehe dich." 



70 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



His German was halting, and he 
looked about for the word he wanted. 
The pause was infinitesimal, but be- 
fore he could go on Fraulein Hedwig 
said: 

"Ach, Herr Carey, Sie miissen mir 
nicht du sagen— you mustn't talk to 
me in the second person singular." 

Philip felt himself grow hot all 
over, for he would never have dared 
to do anything so familiar, and he 
could think of nothing on earth to 
say. It would be ungallant to explain 
that he was not making an observa- 
tion, but merely mentioning the title 
of a song. 

"Entschuldigen Sie,'* he said. "I 
beg your pardon." 

"It does not matter," she whispered. 

She smiled pleasantly, quietly took 
his hand and pressed it, then turned 
back into the drawing-room. 



Next day he was so embarrassed 
that he could not speak to her, and 
in his shyness did all that was possible 
to avoid her. When he was asked to 
go for the usual walk he refused be- 
cause, he said, he had work to do. 
But Fraulein Hedwig seized an op- 
portunity to speak to him alone. 

"Why are you behaving in this 
way?" she said kindly. "You know, Fm 
not angry with you for what you said 
last night. You can't help it if you 
love me. Fm flattered. But although 
Fm not exactly engaged to Hermann 
I can never love anyone else, and I 
look upon myself as his bride." 

Philip blushed again, but he put 
on quite the expression of a rejected 
lover. 

"I hope you'll be very happy," he 
said. 



XXIV 



Professor Erlin gave Philip a 
lesson every day. He made out a list of 
books which Philip was to read till 
he was ready for the final achieve- 
ment of Faust, and meanwhile, in- 
geniously enough, started him on a 
German translation of one of the plays 
by Shakespeare which Philip had 
studied at school. It was the period 
in Germany of Goethe's highest fame. 
Notwithstanding his rather conde- 
scending attitude towards patriotism he 
had been adopted as the national poet, 
and seemed since the war of seventy 
to be one of the most significant glories 
of national unity. The enthusiastic 
seemed in the wildness of the Wal- 
purgisnacht to hear the rattle of artil- 
lery at Gravelotte. But one mark of 
a writer's greatness is that different 
minds can find in him different in- 



spirations; and Professor Erlin, who 
hated the Prussians, gave his enthusi- 
astic admiration to Goethe because his 
works, Olympian and sedate, offered 
the only refuge for a sane 
mind against the onslaughts of the 
present generation. There was a drama- 
tist whose name of late had been 
much heard at Heidelberg, and the 
winter before one of his plays had 
been given at the theatre amid the 
cheers of adherents and the hisses of 
decent people. Philip heard dis- 
cussions about it at the Frau Pro- 
fessor's long table, and at these Pro- 
fessor Erlin lost his wonted calm: he 
beat the table with his fist, and 
drowned all opposition with the roar 
of his fine deep voice. It was non- 
sense and obscene nonsense. He 
forced himself to sit the play out, but 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



he did not know whether he was more 
bored or nauseated. If that was what 
the theatre was coming to, then it was 
high time the poHce stepped in and 
closed the playhouse. He was no 
prude and could laugh as well as any- 
one at the witty immorality of a farce 
at the Palais Royal, but here was 
nothing but filth. With an emphatic 
gesture he held his nose and whistled 
through his teeth. It was the ruin of 
the family, the uprooting of morals, 
the destruction of Germany. 

"Aher, Adolf," said the Frau Pro- 
fes^r from the other end of the 
table. "Calm yourself." 

He shook his fist at her. He was 
the mildest of creatures and ventured 
upon no action of his life without 
consulting her. 

"No, Helene, I tell you this," he 
shouted. "I would sooner my daugh- 
ters were lying dead at my feet than 
see them listening to the garbage of 
that shameless fellow." 

The play was The Doll's House 
and the author was Henrik Ibsen. 

Professor Erlin classed him with 
Richard Wagner, but of him he spoke 



not with anger but with good- 
humoured laughter. He was a charla- 
tan but a successful charlatan, and in 
that was always something for the 
comic spirit to rejoice in. 

"Verriickter Kerl! A madman!" he 
said. 

He had seen Lohengrin and that 
passed muster. It was dull but no 
worse. But Siegfried! When he men- 
tioned it Professor Erlin leaned his 
head on his hand and bellowed with 
laughter. Not a melody in it from 
beginning to end! He could imagine 
Richard Wagner sitting in his box 
and laughing till his sides ached at the 
sight of all the people who were tak- 
ing it seriously. It was the greatest 
hoax of the nineteenth century. He 
lifted his glass of beer to his lips, 
threw back his head, and drank till 
the glass was empty. Then wiping his 
mouth with the back of his hand, he 
said: 

"I tell you young people that be- 
fore the nineteenth century is out 
Wagner will be as dead as mutton. 
Wagner! I would give all his works 
for one opera by Donizetti." 



XXV 



The oddest of Philip's masters was 
his teacher of French. Monsieur 
Ducroz was a citizen of Geneva. He 
was a tall old man, with a sallow skin 
and hollow cheeks; his gray hair was 
thin and long. He wore shabby black 
clothes, with holes at the elbows of 
his coat and frayed trousers. His linen 
was very dirty. Philip had never seen 
him in a clean collar. He was a man 
of few words, who gave his lesson 
conscientiously but without enthusi- 
asm, arriving as the clock struck and 
leaving on the minute. His charges 



were very small. He was taciturn, and 
what Philip learnt about him he 
learnt from others: it appeared that 
he had fought with Garibaldi against 
the Pope, but had left Italy in disgust 
when it was clear that all his efforts 
for freedom, by which he meant the 
establishment of a republic, tended to 
no more than an exchange of yokes; 
he had been expelled from Geneva 
for it was not known what political 
offences. Philip looked upon him 
with puzzled surprise; for he was very 
unlike his idea of the revolutionary: 



72 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



he spoke in a low voice and was 
extraordinarily polite; he never sat 
down till he was asked to; and when 
on rare occasions he met Philip in 
the street took off his hat with an 
elaborate gesture; he never laughed, 
he never even smiled. A more com- 
plete imagination than Philip's might 
have pictured a youth of splendid 
hope, for he must have been entering 
upon manhood in 1848 when kings, 
remembering their brother of France, 
went about with an uneasy crick in 
their necks; and perhaps that passion 
for liberty which passed through Eu- 
rope, sweeping before it what of 
absolutism and tyranny had reared its 
head during the reaction from the rev- 
olution of 1789, filled no breast with 
a hotter fire. One might fancy him, 
passionate with theories of human 
equality and human rights, discussing, 
arguing, fighting behind barricades in 
Paris, flying before the Austrian cav- 
alry in Milan, imprisoned here, exiled 
from there, hoping on and upborne 
ever with the word which seemed so 
magical, the word Libert}^; till at last, 
broken with disease and starvation, 
old, without means to keep body and 
soul together but by such lessons as 
he could pick up from poor students, 
he found himself in that little neat 
town under the heel of a personal 
tyranny greater than any in Europe. 
Perhaps his taciturnity hid a contempt 
for the human race which had aban- 
doned the great dreams of his youth 
and now wallowed in sluggish ease; 
or perhaps these thirty years of rev- 
olution had taught him that men are 
unfit for liberty, and he thought that 
he had spent his life in the pursuit 
of that which was not worth the find- 
ing. Or maybe he was tired out and 
waited only with indifference for the 
release of death. 

One day Philip, with the blunt- 
ness of his age, asked him if it was 



true he had been with Garibaldi. The 
old man did not seem to attach any 
importance to the question. He an- 
swered quite quietly in as low a voice 
as usual. 

"Oui, monsieur." 

"They say you were in the Com- 
mune?'' 

"Do theyr* Shall we get on with 
our work?" 

He held the book open and Philip, 
intimidated, began to translate the 
passage he had prepared. 

One day Monsieur Ducroz seemed 
to be in great pain. He had been 
scarcely able to drag himself up the 
many stairs to Philip's room: and 
when he arrived sat down heavily, his 
sallow face drawn, with beads of 
sweat on his forehead, trying to re- 
cover himself. 

"I'm afraid you're ill," said Philip. 

"It's of no consequence." 

But Philip saw that he was suffer- 
ing, and at the end of the hour asked 
whether he would not prefer to give 
no more lessons till he was better. 

"No," said the old man, in his even 
low voice. "I prefer to go on while I 
am able." 

Philip, morbidly nervous when he 
had to make any reference to money, 
reddened. 

"But it won't make any difference 
to you," he said. "I'll pay for the 
lessons just the same. If you wouldn't 
mind I'd like to give you the money 
for next week in advance." 

Monsieur Ducroz charged eighteen 
pence an hour. Philip took a ten-mark 
piece out of his pocket and shyly put 
it on the table. He could not bring 
himself to offer it as if the old man 
were a beggar. 

"In that case I think I won't come 
again till I'm better." He took the 
coin and, without anything more than 
the elaborate bow with which he al- 
ways took his leave, went out. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



73 



"Bonjour, monsieur." 

Philip was vaguely disappointed. 
Thinking he had done a generous 
thing, he had expected that Monsieur 
Ducroz would overwhelm him with 
expressions of gratitude. He was taken 
aback to find that the old teacher ac- 
cepted the present as though it were 
his due. He was so young, he did not 
realise how much less is the sense of 
obligation in those who receive favours 
than in those who grant them. Mon- 
sieur Ducroz appeared again five or 
six days later. He tottered a little 
more and was very weak, but seemed 
to have overcome the severity of the 
attack. He was no more communica- 
tive than he had been before. He re- 



mained mysterious, aloof, and dirty. 
He made no reference to his illness 
till after the lesson: and then, just as 
he was leaving, at the door, which 
he held open, he paused. He hesi- 
tated, as though to speak were 
difficult. 

"If it hadn't been for the money 
you gave me I should have starved. 
It was all I had to live on." 

He made his solemn, obsequious 
bow, and went out. Philip felt a little 
lump in his throat. He seemed to 
realise in a fashion the hopeless bitter- 
ness of the old man's struggle, and 
how hard life was for him when to 
himself it was so pleasant. 



XXVI 



Philip had spent three months in 
Heidelberg when one morning the 
Frau Professor told him that an Eng- 
lishman named Hayward was coming 
to stay in the house, and the same 
evening at supper he saw a new face. 
For some days the family had lived 
in a state of excitement. First, as the 
result of heaven knows what schem- 
ing, by dint of humble prayers and 
veiled threats, the parents of the 
young Englishman to whom Fraulein 
Thekla was engaged had invited her 
to visit them in England, and she 
had set off with an album of water 
colours to show how accomplished 
she was and a bundle of letters to 
prove how deeply the young man had 
compromised himself. A week later 
Fraulein Hedwig with radiant smiles 
announced that the lieutenant of her 
affections was coming to Heidelberg 
with his father and mother. Ex- 
hausted by the importunity of their 
son and touched by the dowry which 



Fraulein Hedwig's father offered, the 
lieutenant's parents had consented to 
pass through Heidelberg to make the 
young woman's acquaintance. The in- 
terview was satisfactory and Fraulein 
Hedwig had the satisfaction of show- 
ing her lover in the Stadtgarten to 
the whole of Frau Professor Erlin's 
household. The silent old ladies who 
sat at the top of the table near the 
Frau Professor were in a flutter, and 
when Fraulein Hedwig said she was 
to go home at once for the formal 
engagement to take place, the Frau 
Professor, regardless of expense, said 
she would give a Maihowh. Professor 
Erlin prided himself on his skill in 
preparing this mild intoxicant, and 
after supper the large bowl of hock 
and soda, with scented herbs floating 
in it and wild strawberries, was placed 
with solemnity on the round table in 
the drawing-room. Fraulein Anna 
teased Philip about the departure of 
his lady-love, and he felt very un- 



74 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



comfortable and rather melancholy. 
Fraulein Hedwig sang several songs, 
Fraulein Anna played the Wedding 
March, and the Professor sang Die 
Wacht am Rhein. Amid ail this 
jollification Philip paid little attention 
to the new arrival. They had sat 
opposite one another at supper, but 
Philip was chattering busily with 
Fraulein Hedwig, and the stranger, 
knowing no German, had eaten his 
food in silence. Philip, observing that 
he wore a pale blue tie, had on that 
account taken a sudden dislike to him. 
He was a man of twenty-six, very fair, 
with long, wavy hair through which 
he passed his hand frequently with a 
careless gesture. His eyes were large 
and blue, but the blue was very pale, 
and they looked rather tired already. 
He was clean-shaven, and his mouth, 
notwithstanding its thin lips, was well- 
shaped. Fraulein Anna took an in- 
terest in physiognomy, and she made 
Philip notice afterwards how finely 
shaped was his skull, and how weak 
was the lower part of his face. The 
head, she remarked, was the head of 
a thinker, but the jaw lacked char- 
acter. Fraulein Anna, foredoomed to 
a spinster's life, with her high cheek- 
bones and large misshapen nose, laid 
great stress upon character. While 
they talked of him he stood a little 
apart from the others, watching the 
noisy party with a good-humoured 
but faintly supercilious expression. He 
was tall and slim. He held himself 
with a deliberate grace. Weeks, one 
of the American students, seeing him 
alone, went up and began to talk to 
him. The pair were oddly contrasted: 
the American very neat in his black 
coat and pepper-and-salt trousers, thin 
and dried-up, with something of 
ecclesiastical unction already in his 
manner; and the Englishman in his 
loose tweed suit, large-limbed and 



slow of gesture. 

Philip did not speak to the new- 
comer till next day. They found 
themselves alone on the balcony of 
the drawing-room before dinner. Hay- 
ward addressed him. 

"You're English, aren't you?" 

"Yes." 

"Is the food always as bad as it was 
last night?" 

"It's always about the same." 

"Beastly, isn't it?" 

"Beastly." 

Philip had found nothing wrong 
with the food at all, and in fact had 
eaten it in large quantities with ap- 
petite and enjoyment, but he did not 
want to show himself a person of so 
little discrimination as to think a din- 
ner good which another thought ex- 
ecrable. 

Fraulein Thekla's visit to England 
made it necessary for her sister to do 
more in the house, and she could not 
often spare the time for long walks; 
and Fraulein Cacilie, with her long 
plait of fair hair and her little snub- 
nosed face, had of late shown a 
certain disinclination for society. 
Fraulein Hedwig was gone, and 
Weeks, the American who generally 
accompanied them on their rambles, 
had set out for a tour of South 
Germany. Philip was left a good deal 
to himself. Hayward sought his ac- 
quaintance; but Philip had an un- 
fortunate trait: from shyness or from 
some atavistic inheritance of the cave- 
dweller, he always disliked people on 
first acquaintance; and it was not till 
he became used to them that he got 
over his first impression. It made him 
difficult of access. He received Hay- 
ward's advances very shyly, and when 
Hayward asked him one day to go for 
a walk he accepted only because he 
could not think of a civil excuse. He 
made his usual apology, angry with 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



75 



himself for the flushing cheeks he 
could not control, and trying to carry 
it off with a laugh. 

'Tm afraid I can't walk very fast." 

"Good heavens, I don't walk for a 
wager. I prefer to stroll. Don't you 
remember the chapter in Marius 
where Pater talks of the gentle ex- 
ercise of walking as the best incentive 
to conversation?" 

Philip was a good listener; though 
he often thought of clever things to 
say, it was seldom till after the op- 
portunity to say them had passed; but 
Hayward was communicative; anyone 
more experienced than Philip might 
have thought he liked to hear himself 
talk. His supercilious attitude im- 
pressed Philip. He could not help ad- 
miring, and yet being awed by, a man 
who faintly despised so many things 
which Philip had looked upon as al- 
most sacred. He cast down the fetish 
of exercise, damning with the con- 
temptuous word pot-hunters all those 
who devoted themselves to its various 
forms; and Philip did not realise that 
he was merely putting up in its stead 
the other fetish of culture. 

They wandered up to the castle, 
and sat on the terrace that overlooked 
the town. It nestled in the valley along 
the pleasant Neckar with a comfort- 
able friendliness. The smoke from the 
chimneys hung over it, a pale blue 
haze; and the tall roofs, the spires of 
the churches, gave it a pleasantly 
mediaeval air. There was a homeli- 
ness in it which warmed the heart. 
Hayward talked of Richard Feverel 
and Madame Bovary, of Verlaine, 
Dante, and Matthew Arnold. In those 
days Fitzgerald's translation of Omar 
Khayam was known only to the elect, 
and Hayward repeated it to Philip. 
He was very fond of reciting poetry, 
his own and that of others, which he 
did in a monotonous sing-song. By 



the time they reached home Philip's 
distrust of Hayward was changed to 
enthusiastic admiration. 

They made a practice of walking 
together every afternoon, and Philip 
learned presently something of Hay- 
ward's circumstances. He was the son 
of a country judge, on whose death 
some time before he had inherited 
three hundred a year. His record at 
Charterhouse was so brilliant that 
when he went to Cambridge the 
Master of Trinity Hall went out of 
his way to express his satisfaction that 
he was going to that college. He pre- 
pared himself for a distinguished ca- 
reer. He moved in the most intellec- 
tual circles: he read Browning with 
enthusiasm and turned up his well- 
shaped nose at Tennyson; he knew 
all the details of Shelley's treatment 
of Harriet; he dabbled in the history 
of art (on the walls of his rooms were 
reproductions of pictures by G. F. 
Watts, Burne-Jones, and Botticelli); 
and he wrote not without distinction 
verses of a pessimistic character. His 
friends told one another that he was 
a man of excellent gifts, and he lis- 
tened to them willingly when they 
prophesied his future eminence. In 
course of time he became an authority 
on art and literature. He came under 
the influence of Newman's Apologia; 
the picturesqueness of the Roman 
Catholic faith appealed to his aes- 
thetic sensibility; and it was only the 
fear of his father's wrath (a plain, 
blunt man of narrow ideas, who read 
Macaulay) which prevented him from 
'going over.' When he only got a pass 
degree his friends were astonished; but 
he shrugged his shoulders and 
delicately insinuated that he was not 
the dupe of examiners. He made one 
feel that a first class was ever so 
slightly vulgar. He described one of 
the vivas with tolerant humour; some 



76 

fellow in an outrageous collar was 
asking him questions in logic; it was 
infinitely tedious, and suddenly he 
noticed that he wore elastic-sided 
boots: it was grotesque and ridiculous; 
so he withdrew his mind and thought 
of the gothic beauty of the Chapel 
at King's, But he had spent some de- 
lightful days at Cambridge; he had 
given better dinners than anyone he 
knew; and the conversation in his 
rooms had been often memorable. He 
quoted to Philip the exquisite 
epigram : 

"They told me, Herakleitus, they 
told me you were dead." 

And now, when he related again 
the picturesque little anecdote about 
the examiner and his boots, 
he laughed. 

"Of course it was folly," he said, 
"but it was a folly in which there was 
something fine." 

Philip, with a Httle thrill, thought 
it magnificent. 

Then Hayward went to London to 
read for the bar. He had charming 
rooms in Clement's Inn, with panelled 
walls, and he tried to make them look 
like his old rooms at the Hall. He had 
ambitions that were vaguely political, 
he described himself as a Whig, and 
he was put up for a club which was 
of Liberal but gentlemanly flavour. 
His ideal was to practise at the Bar 
(he chose the Chancery side as less 
brutal), and get a seat for some pleas- 
ant constituency as soon as the various 
promises made him were carried out; 
meanwhile he went a great deal to 
the opera, and made acquaintance 
with a small number of charming 
people who admired the things that 
he admired. He joined a dining-club 
of which the motto was. The Whole, 
The Good, and The Beautiful. He 
formed a platonic friendship with a 
lady some years older than himself, 
who lived in Kensington Square; and 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



nearly every afternoon he drank tea 
with her by the light of shaded 
candles, and talked of George 
Meredith and Walter Pater. It was 
notorious that any fool could pass the 
examinations of the Bar Council, and 
he pursued his studies in a dilatory 
fashion. When he was ploughed for 
his final he looked upon it as a per- 
sonal affront. At the same time the 
lady in Kensington Square told him 
that her husband was coming home 
from India on leave, and was a man, 
though worthy in every way, of a 
commonplace mind, who would not 
understand a young man's frequent 
visits. Hayward felt that life was full 
of ugliness, his soul revolted from 
the thought of affronting again the 
cynicism of examiners, and he saw 
something rather splendid in kicking 
away the ball which lay at his feet. 
He was also a good deal in debt: it 
was difficult to live in London like a 
gentleman on three hundred a year; 
and his heart yearned for the Venice 
and Florence which John Ruskin had 
so magically described. He felt that 
he was unsuited to the vulgar bustle 
of the Bar, for he had discovered that 
it was not sufficient to put your name 
on a door to get briefs; and modern 
politics seemed to lack nobility. He 
felt himself a poet. He disposed of his 
rooms in Clement's Inn and went to 
Italy. He had spent a winter in 
Florence and a winter in Rome, and 
now was passing his second summer 
abroad in Germany so that he might 
read Goethe in the original. 

Hayward had one gift which was 
very precious. He had a real feeling 
for literature, and he could impart his 
own passion with an admirable 
fluency. He could throw himself into 
sympathy with a writer and see all 
that was best in him, and then he 
could talk about him with understand- 
ing. Philip had read a great deal, but 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



11 



he had read without discrimination 
everything that he happened to come 
across, and it was very good for him 
now to meet someone who could 
guide his taste. He borrowed books 
from the small lending library which 
the town possessed and began reading 
all the wonderful things that Hay- 
ward spoke of. He did not read always 
with enjoyment but invariably with 
perseverance. He was eager for self- 
improvement. He felt himself very 
ignorant and very humble. By the end 
of August, when Weeks returned 
from South Germany, Philip was 
completely under Hayward's in- 
fluence. Hayward did not like Weeks. 
He deplored the American's black 
coat and pepper-and-salt trousers, and 
spoke with a scornful shrug of his 
New England conscience. Philip hs- 
tened complacently to the abuse of a 
man who had gone out of his way to 
be kind to him, but when Weeks in 
his turn made disagreeable remarks 
about Hayward he lost his temper. 

"Your new friend looks like a poet," 
said Weeks, with a thin smile on his 
careworn, bitter mouth. 

"He is a poet." 

"Did he tell you so? In America 
we should call him a pretty fair 
specimen of a waster." 

"Well, we're not in America," said 
Philip frigidly. 

"How old is he? Twenty-five? And 
he does nothing but stay in pensions 
and write poetry." 

"You don't know him," said Philip 
hotly. 

"Oh yes, I do: I've met a hundred 
and forty-seven of him." 

Weeks' eyes twinkled, but Philip, 
who did not understand American 
humour, pursed his Hps and looked 
severe. Weeks to PhiHp seemed a man 
of middle-age, but he was in point 
of fact little more than thirty. He 
had a long, thin body and the scholar's 



stoop; his head was large and ugly; 
he had pale scanty hair and an earthy 
skin; his thin mouth and thin, long 
nose, and the great protuberance of 
his frontal bones, gave him an un- 
couth look. He was cold and precise 
in his manner, a bloodless man, with- 
out passion; but he had a curious vein 
of frivolity which disconcerted the 
serious-minded among whom his in- 
stincts naturally threw him. He was 
studying theology in Heidelberg, but 
the other theological students of his 
own nationality looked upon him 
with suspicion. He was very unortho- 
dox, which frightened them; and his 
freakish humour excited their dis- 
approval. 

"How can you have known a hun- 
dred and forty-seven of him?" asked 
Philip seriously. 

"I've met him in the Latin Quarter 
in Paris, and I've met him in pensions 
in Berlin and Munich. He lives in 
small hotels in Perugia and Assisi. He 
stands by the dozen before the Botti- 
cellis in Florence, and he sits on all 
the benches of the Sistine Chapel in 
Rome. In Italy he drinks a little too 
much wine, and in Germany he 
drinks a great deal too much beer. 
He always admires the right thing 
whatever the right thing is, and one 
of these days he's going to write a 
great work. Think of it, there are a 
hundred and forty-seven great works 
reposing in the bosoms of a hundred 
and forty-seven great men, and the 
tragic thing is that not one of those 
hundred and forty-seven great works 
will ever be written. And yet the 
world goes on." 

Weeks spoke seriously, but his gray 
eyes twinkled a little at the end of 
his long speech, and Philip flushed 
when he saw that the American was 
making fun of him. 

"You do talk rot," he said crossly. 



78 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



XXVII 



Weeks had two little rooms at the 
back of Frau Erlin's house, and one 
of them, arranged as a parlour, was 
comfortable enough for him to invite 
people to sit in. After supper, urged 
perhaps by the impish humour which 
was the despair of his friends in Cam- 
bridge, Mass., he often asked Philip 
and Hayward to come in for a chat. 
He received them with elaborate 
courtesy and insisted on their sitting 
in the only two comfortable chairs in 
the room. Though he did not drink 
himself, with a politeness of which 
Philip recognized the irony, he put 
a couple of bottles of beer at Hay- 
ward's elbow, and he insisted on light- 
ing matches whenever in the heat of 
argument Hayward's pipe went out. 
At the beginning of their acquaint- 
ance Hayward, as a member of so 
celebrated a university, had adopted a 
patronising attitude towards Weeks, 
who was a graduate of Harvard; and 
when by chance the conversation 
turned upon the Greek tragedians, a 
subject upon which Hayward felt he 
spoke with authority, he had assumed 
the air that it was his part to give in- 
formation rather than to exchange 
ideas. Weeks had listened politely, 
with smiling modesty, till Hayward 
finished; then he asked one or two 
insidious questions, so innocent in ap- 
pearance that HayM'ard, not seeing 
into what a quandary they led him, 
answered blandly; Weeks made a 
courteous objection, then a correction 
of fact, after that a quotation from 
sojne little known Latin commentator, 
then a reference to a German author- 
ity; and the fact was disclosed that he 



was a scholar. With smiling ease, 
apologetically, Weeks tore to pieces all 
that Hayward had said; with elaborate 
civility he displayed the superficiality 
of his attainments. He mocked him 
with gentle irony. Philip could not 
help seeing that Hayward looked a 
perfect fool, and Hayward had not 
the sense to hold his tongue; in his 
irritation, his self-assurance un- 
daunted, he attempted to argue: he 
made wild statements and Weeks 
amicably corrected them; he reasoned 
falsely and Weeks proved that he was 
absurd: Weeks confessed that he had 
taught Greek Literature at Harvard. 
Hayward gave a laugh of scorn. 

"I might have known it. Of course 
you read Greek like a schoolmaster," 
he said. "I read it like a poet." 

"And do you find it more poetic 
when you don't quite know what it 
means? I thought it was only in re- 
vealed religion that a mistranslation 
improved the sense." 

At last, having finished the beer, 
Hayward left Weeks' room hot and 
dishevelled; with an angry gesture he 
said to Philip : 

"Of course the man's a pedant. He 
has no real feeling for beauty. Ac- 
curacy is the virtue of clerks. It's the 
spirit of the Greeks that we aim at. 
Weeks is like that fellow who went 
to hear Rubenstein and complained 
that he played false notes. False notes! 
What did they matter when he played 
divinely?" 

Philip, not knowing how many in- 
competent people have found solace 
in these false notes, was much im- 
pressed. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



79 



Hayward could never resist the op- 
portunity which Weeks offered him 
of regaining ground lost on a previous 
occasion, and Weeks was able with 
the greatest ease to draw him into a 
discussion. Though he could not help 
seeing how small his attainments were 
beside the American's, his British 
pertinacity, his wounded vanity (per- 
haps they are the same thing), would 
not allow him to give up the struggle. 
Hayward seemed to take a delight in 
displaying his ignorance, self-satisfac- 
tion, and wnrongheadedness. Whenever 
Hayward said something which was 
illogical. Weeks in a few words would 
show the falseness of his reasoning, 
pause for a moment to enjoy his tri- 
umph, and then hurry on to another 
subject as though Christian charity 
impelled him to spare the vanquished 
foe. Philip tried sometimes to put in 
something to help his friend, and 
Weeks gently crushed him, but so 
kindly, differently from the way in 
which he answered Hayward, that 
even PhiHp, outrageously sensitive, 
could not feel hurt. Now and then, 
losing his calm as he felt himself more 
and more foolish, Hayward became 
abusive, and only the American's smil- 
ing politeness prevented the argument 
from degenerating into a quarrel. On 
these occasions when Hayward left 
Weeks' room he muttered angrily : 

"Damned Yankee!" 

That settled it. It was a perfect an- 
swer to an argument which had 
seemed unanswerable. 

Though they began by discussing 
all manner of subjects in Weeks' little 
room eventually the conversation al- 
ways turned to religion: the theologi- 
cal student took a professional interest 
in it, and Hayward welcomed a sub- 
ject in which hard facts need not dis- 
concert him; when feeling is the gauge 
you can snap your fingers at logic, 



and when your logic is weak that is 
very agreeable. Hayward found it 
difficult to explain his beliefs to Philip 
without a great flow of words; but it 
was clear (and this fell in with 
Philip's idea of the natural order of 
things), that he had been brought up 
in the church by law established. 
Though he had now given up all 
idea of becoming a Roman Catholic, 
he still looked upon that communion 
with sympathy. He had much to say 
in its praise, and he compared favour- 
ably its gorgeous ceremonies with the 
simple services of the Church of Eng- 
land. He gave Philip Newman's 
Apologia to read, and Philip, finding 
it very dull, nevertheless read it to 
the end. 

"Read it for its style, not for its 
matter," said Hayward. 

He talked enthusiastically of the 
music at the Oratory, and said charm- 
ing things about the connection be- 
tween incense and the devotional 
spirit. Weeks listened to him with his 
frigid smile. 

"You think it proves the truth of 
Roman Catholicism that John Henry 
Newman wrote good English and that 
Cardinal Manning has a picturesque 
appearance?" 

Hayward hinted that he had gone 
through much trouble with his soul. 
For a year he had swum in a sea of 
darkness. He passed his fingers 
through his fair, waving hair and told 
them that he would not for five hun- 
dred pounds endure again those ago- 
nies of mind. Fortunately he had 
reached calm waters at last. 

"But what do you believe?" asked 
Philip, who was never satisfied with 
vague statements. 

"I believe in the Whole, the Good, 
and the Beautiful." 

Hayward with his loose large limbs 
and the fine carriage of his head 



8o 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



looked very handsome when he said 
this, and he said it with an air. 

"Is that how you would describe 
your religion in a census paper?" asked 
Weeks, in mild tones. 

"I hate the rigid definition: it's so 
ugly, so obvious. If you like I will say 
that I believe in the church of the 
Duke of Wellington and Mr. Glad- 
stone." 

"That's the Church of England," 
said Philip. 

"Oh wise young man!" retorted 
Hayward, with a smile which made 
Philip blush, for he felt that in put- 
ting into plain words what the other 
had expressed in a paraphrase, he had 
been guilty of vulgarity. "I belong to 
the Church of England. But I love 
the gold and the silk which clothe 
the priest of Rome, and his celibacy, 
and the confessional, and purgatory: 
and in the darkness of an Italian 
cathedral, incense-laden and mysteri- 
ous, I believe with all my heart in 
the miracle of the Mass. In Venice I 
have seen a fisherwoman come in, 
barefoot, throw down her basket of 
fish by her side, fall on her knees, 
and pray to the Madonna; and that 
I felt was the real faith, and I prayed 
and believed with her. But I believe 
also in Aphrodite and Apollo and the 
Great God Pan." 

He had a charming voice, and he 
chose his words as he spoke; he ut- 
tered them almost rhythmically. He 
would have gone on, but Weeks 
opened a second bottle of beer. 

"Let me give you something to 
drink." 

Hayward turned to Philip with the 
slightly condescending gesture which 
so impressed the youth. 

"Now are you satisfied?" he asked. 

Philip, somewhat bewildered, con- 
fessed that he was. 

"I'm disappointed that you didn't 
add a little Buddhism," said Weeks. 



"And I confess I have a sort of 
sympathy for Mahomet; I regret that 
you should have left him out in the 
cold." 

Hayward laughed, for he was in a 
good humour with himself that eve- 
ning, and the ring of his sentences 
still sounded pleasant in his ears. He 
emptied his glass. 

"I didn't expect you to understand 
me," he answered. "With your cold 
American intelligence you can only 
adopt the critical attitude. Emerson 
and all that sort of thing. But what is 
criticism? Criticism is purely destruc- 
tive; anyone can destroy, but not ev- 
eryone can build up. You are a pedant, 
my dear fellow. The important thing 
is to construct: I am constructive; I 
am a poet." 

Weeks looked at him with eyes 
which seemed at the same time to be 
quite grave and yet to be smiling 
brightly. 

"I think, if you don't mind my say- 
ing so, you're a little drunk." 

"Nothing to speak of," answered 
Hayward cheerfully. "And not enough 
for me to be unable to overwhelm 
you in argument. But come, I have 
unbosomed my soul; now tell us what 
your religion is." 

Weeks put his head on one side so 
that he looked like a sparrow on a 
perch. 

"I've been trying to find that out for 
years. I think I'm a Unitarian." 

"But that's a dissenter," said Philip. 

He could not imagine why they 
both burst into laughter, Hayward up- 
roariously, and Weeks with a funny 
chuckle. 

"And in England dissenters aren't 
gentlemen, are they?" asked Weeks. 

"Well, if you ask me point-blank, 
they're not," replied Philip rather 
crossly. 

He hated being laughed at, and 
they laughed again. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



"And will you tell me what a gen- 
tleman is?" asked Weeks. 

"Oh, I don't know; everyone knows 
what it is/' 

"Are you a gentleman?" 

No doubt had ever crossed Philip's 
mind on the subject, but he knew it 
was not a thing to state of oneself. 

"If a man tells you he's a gentleman 
you can bet your boots he isn't," he 
retorted. 

"Am I a gentleman?" 

Philip's truthfulness made it diffi- 
cult for him to answer, but he was 
naturally polite. 

"Oh, well, you're different," he said. 
"You're American, aren't you?" 

"I suppose we may take it that only 
Englishmen are gentlemen," said 
Weeks gravely. 

Philip did not contradict him. 

"Couldn't you give me a few more 
particulars?" asked Weeks. 

Philip reddened, but, growing an- 
gry, did not care if he made himself 
ridiculous. 

"I can give you plenty." He remem- 
bered his uncle's saying that it took 
three generations to make a gentle- 
man: it was a companion proverb to 
the silk purse and the sow's ear. "First 
of all he's the son of a gentleman, and 
he's been to a public school, and to 
Oxford or Cambridge." 

"Edinburgh wouldn't do, I sup- 
pose?" asked Weeks. 

"And he talks English like a gen- 
tleman, and he wears the right sort of 
things, and if he's a gentleman he can 



always tell if another chap's a gentle- 
man." 

It seemed rather lame to Philip as 
he went on, but there it was: that 
was what he meant by the word, and 
everyone he had ever known had 
meant that too. 

"It is evident to me that I am not 
a gentleman," said Weeks. "I don't 
see why you should have been so sur- 
prised because I was a dissenter." 

"I don't quite know what a Uni- 
tarian is," said Philip. 

Weeks in his odd way again put 
his head on one side: you almost ex- 
pected him to twitter. 

"A Unitarian very earnestly disbe- 
lieves in almost everything that any- 
body else believes, and he has a very 
lively sustaining faith in he doesn't 
quite know what." 

"I don't see why you should make 
fun of me," said Philip. **I really want 
to know." 

"My dear friend, I'm not making 
fun of you. I have arrived at that 
definition after years of great labour 
and the most anxious, nerve-racking 
study." 

When Philip and Hayward got up 
to go. Weeks handed Philip a little 
book in a paper cover. 

"I suppose you can read French 
pretty well by now. I wonder if this 
would amuse you." 

Philip thanked him and, taking the 
book, looked at the title. It was 
Kenan's Vie de Jesus. 



XXVIII 



It occurred neither to Hayward 
nor to Weeks that the conversations 
which helped them to pass an idle eve- 
ning were being turned over afterwards 



in Philip's active brain. It had never 
struck him before that religion was a 
matter upon which discussion was 
possible. To him it meant the Church 



82 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



of England, and not to believe in its 
tenets was a sign of wilfulness which 
could not fail of punishment here or 
hereafter. There was some doubt in 
his mind about the chastisement of 
unbelievers. It was possible that a 
merciful judge, reserving the flames 
of hell for the heathen— Mahom- 
medans, Buddhists, and the rest- 
would spare Dissenters and Roman 
Catholics (though at the cost of how 
much humiliation when they were 
made to realise their error!), and it 
was also possible that He would be 
pitiful to those who had had no 
chance of learning the truth,— this was 
reasonable enough, though such were 
the activities of the Missionary So- 
ciety there could not be many in this 
condition— but if the chance had been 
theirs and they had neglected it (in 
which category were obviously Roman 
Catholics and Dissenters), the punish- 
ment was sure and merited. It was 
clear that the miscreant was in a par- 
lous state. Perhaps Philip had not been 
taught it in so many words, but cer- 
tainly the impression had been given 
him that only members of the Church 
of England had any real hope of 
eternal happiness. 

One of the things that Philip had 
heard definitely stated was that the 
unbeliever was a wicked and a vicious 
man; but Weeks, though he believed 
in hardly anything that Philip be- 
heved, led a life of Christian purity. 
PhiHp had received little kindness in 
his life, and he was touched by the 
American's desire to help him: once 
when a cold kept him in bed for three 
days. Weeks nursed him like a mother. 
There was neither vice nor wickedness 
in him, but only sincerity and loving- 
kindness. It was evidently possible to 
be virtuous and unbelieving. 

Also Philip had been given to un- 
derstand that people adhered to other 
faiths only from obstinacy or self-in- 



terest: in their hearts they knew they 
were false; they deliberately sought 
to deceive others. Now, for the sake 
of his German he had been accus- 
tomed on Sunday mornings to attend 
the Lutheran service, but when Hay- 
ward arrived he began instead to go 
with him to Mass. He noticed that, 
whereas the protestant church was 
nearly empty and the congregation 
had a listless air, the Jesuit on the 
other hand was crowded and the wor- 
shippers seemed to pray with all their 
hearts. They had not the look of 
hypocrites. He was surprised at the 
contrast; for he knew of course that 
the Lutherans, whose faith was closer 
to that of the Church of England, on 
that account were nearer the truth than 
the Roman Catholics. Most of the 
men— it was largely a masculine con- 
gregation—were South Germans; and 
he could not help saying to himself 
that if he had been born in South 
Germany he would certainly have 
been a Roman Catholic. He might 
just as well have been born in a 
Roman Catholic country as in Eng- 
land; and in England as well in a 
Wesley an. Baptist, or Methodist fam- 
ily as in one that fortunately belonged 
to the church by law established. He 
was a little breathless at the danger 
he had run. Philip was on friendly 
terms with the little Chinaman who 
sat at table with him twice each day. 
His name was Sung. He was always 
smiling, affable, and polite. It seemed 
strange that he should frizzle in hell 
merely because he was a Chinaman; 
but if salvation was possible whatever 
a man's faith was, there did not seem 
to be any particular advantage in be- 
longing to the Church of England. 
Philip, more puzzled than he had 
ever been in his life, sounded Weeks. 
He had to be careful, for he was very 
sensitive to ridicule; and the acidulous 
humour with which the American 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



83 



treated the Church of England dis- 
concerted him. Weeks only puzzled 
him more. He made Philip acknowl- 
edge that those South Germans whom 
he saw in the Jesuit church were ev- 
ery bit as firmly convinced of the 
truth of Roman Catholicism as he was 
of that of the Church of England, 
and from that he led him to admit 
that the Mahommedan and the Bud- 
dhist were convinced also of the truth 
of their respective religions. It looked 
as though knowing that you were 
right meant nothing; they all knew 
they were right. Weeks had no in- 
tention of undermining the boy's faith, 
but he was deeply interested in re- 
ligion, and found it an absorbing topic 
of conversation. He had described his 
own views accurately when he said 
that he very earnestly disbelieved in 
almost everything that other people 
believed. Once Philip asked him a 
question, which he had heard his 
uncle put when the conversation at 
the vicarage had fallen upon some 
mildly rationalistic work which was 
then exciting discussion in the news- 
papers. 

"But why should you be right and 
all those fellows like St. Anselm and 
St. Augustine be wrong?" 

"You mean that they were very 
clever and learned men, while you 
have grave doubts whether I am 
either?" asked Weeks. 

*Tes," answered Philip uncertainly, 
for put in that way his question 
seemed impertinent. 

"St. Augustine believed that the 
earth was flat and that the sun turned 
round it." 

"I don't know what that proves." 

"Why, it proves that you believe 

with your generation. Your saints 

' lived in an age of faith, when it was 

practically impossible to disbelieve 

what to us is positively incredible." 

"Then how d'you know that we 



have the truth now?" 

"I don't." 

Philip thought this over for a mo- 
ment, then he said: 

"I don't see why the things we be- 
lieve absolutely now shouldn't be just 
as wrong as what they believed in the 
past." 

"Neither do I." 

"Then how can you believe any- 
thing at all?" 

"I don't know." 

Philip asked Weeks what he 
thought of Hayward's religion. 

"Men have always formed gods in 
their own image," said Weeks. "He 
believes in the picturesque." 

Philip paused for a little while, 
then he said: 

"I don't see why one should believe 
in God at all." 

The words were no sooner out of 
his mouth than he realised that he 
had ceased to do so. It took his 
breath away like a plunge into cold 
water. He looked at Weeks with 
startled eyes. Suddenly he felt afraid. 
He left Weeks as quickly as he could. 
He wanted to be alone. It was the 
most startling experience that he had 
ever had. He tried to think it all out; 
it was very exciting, since his whole 
life seemed concerned (he thought his 
decision on this matter must pro- 
foundly affect its course) and a mis- 
take might lead to eternal damnation; 
but the more he reflected the more 
convinced he was; and though during 
the next few weeks he read books, 
aids to scepticism, with eager interest 
it was only to confirm him in what he 
felt instinctively. The fact was that he 
had ceased to believe not for this rea- 
son or the other, but because he had 
not the religious temperament. Faith 
had been forced upon him from the 
outside. It was a matter of environ- 
ment and example. A new environ- 
ment and a new example gave him 



84 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



the opportunity to find himself. He 
put off the faith of his childhood 
quite simply, like a cloak that he no 
longer needed. At first life seemed 
strange and lonely without the belief 
which, though he never realised it, 
had been an unfailing support. He 
felt like a man who has leaned on 
a stick and finds himself forced sud- 
denly to walk without assistance. It 
really seemed as though the days were 
colder and the nights more solitary. 
But he was upheld by the excite- 
ment; it seemed to make life a more 
thrilling adventure; and in a little 
while the stick which he had thrown 
aside, the cloak which had fallen from 
his shoulders, seemed an intolerable 
burden of which he had been eased. 
The religious exercises which for so 
many years had been forced upon him 
were part and parcel of religion to 
him. He thought of the collects and 
epistles which he had been made to 
learn by heart, and the long services 
at the Cathedral through which he 
had sat when every limb itched with 
the desire for movement; and he re- 
membered those walks at night 
through muddy roads to the parish 
church at Blackstable, and the cold- 
ness of that bleak building; he sat 
with his feet like ice, his fingers numb 
and heavy, and all around was the 
sickly odour of pomatum. Oh, he had 
been so bored! His heart leaped when 
he saw he was free from all that. 

He was surprised at himself because 
he ceased to believe so easily, and, not 
knowing that he felt as he did on ac- 
count of the subtle workings of his 
inmost nature, he ascribed the cer- 
tainty he had reached to his own 
cleverness. He was unduly pleased 
with himself. With youth's lack of 
sympathy for an attitude other than 
its own he despised not a little Weeks 
and Hayward because they were con- 
tent with the vague emotion which 



they called God and would not take 
the further step which to himself 
seemed so obvious. One day he went 
alone up a certain hill so that he 
might see a view which, he knew not 
why, filled him always with wild ex- 
hilaration. It was autumn now, but 
often the days were cloudless still, 
and then the sky seemed to glow with 
a more splendid light: it was as 
though nature consciously sought to 
put a fuller vehemence into the re- 
maining days of fair weather. He 
looked down upon the plain, a-quiver 
with the sun, stretching vastly before 
him: in the distance were the roofs 
of Mannheim and ever so far away 
the dimness of Worms. Here and 
there a more piercing glitter was the 
Rhine. The tremendous spaciousness 
of it was glowing with rich gold. 
Philip, as he stood there, his heart 
beating with sheer joy, thought how 
the tempter had stood with Jesus on a 
high mountain and shown him the 
kingdoms of the earth. To Philip, in- 
toxicated with the beauty of the scene, 
it seemed that it was the whole world 
which was spread before him, and he 
was eager to step down and enjoy it. 
He was free from degrading fears and 
free from prejudice. He could go his 
way without the intolerable dread of 
hell-fire. Suddenly he realised that he 
had lost also that burden of responsi- 
bility which made every action of his 
life a matter of urgent consequence. 
He could breathe more freely in a 
lighter air. He was responsible only 
to himself for the things he did. Free- 
dom! He was his own master at last. 
From old habit, unconsciously he 
thanked God that he no longer be- 
lieved in Him. 

Drunk with pride in his intelligence 
and in his fearlessness, Philip entered 
deliberately upon a new life. But his 
loss of faith made less difference in 
his behaviour than he expected. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



85 



Though he had thrown on one side 
the Christian dogmas it never oc- 
curred to him to criticise the Christian 
ethics; he accepted the Christian vir- 
tues, and indeed thought it fine to 
practise them for their own sake, with- 
out a thought of reward or punish- 
ment. There was small occasion for 
heroism in the Frau Professor's house, 
but he was a little more exactly truth- 
ful than he had been, and he forced 
himself to be more than commonly 
attentive to the dull, elderly ladies 
who sometimes engaged him in con- 
versation. The gentle oath, the violent 
adjective, which are typical of our lan- 
guage and which he had cultivated be- 
fore as a sign of manliness, he now 
elaborately eschewed. 

Having settled the whole matter to 
his satisfaction he sought to put it out 
of his mind, but that was more easily 
said than done; and he could not 
prevent the regrets nor stifle the mis- 
givings which sometimes tormented 
him. He was so young and had so 
few friends that immortality had no 
particular attractions for him, and he 
was able without trouble to give up 
belief in it; but there was one thing 



which made him wretched; he told 
himself that he was unreasonable, he 
tried to laugh himself out of such 
pathos; but the tears really came to 
his eyes when he thought that he 
would never see again the beautiful 
mother whose love for him had grown 
more precious as the years since her 
death passed on. And sometimes, as 
though the influence of innumerable 
ancestors. God-fearing and devout, 
were working in him unconsciously, 
there seized him a panic fear that 
perhaps after all it was all true, and 
there was, up there behind the blue 
sky, a jealous God who would pun- 
ish in everlasting flames the atheist. 
At these times his reason could offer 
him no help, he imagined the anguish 
of a physical torment which would 
last endlessly, he felt quite sick with 
fear and burst into a violent sweat. 
At last he would say to himself des- 
perately: 

"After all, it's not my fault. 1 can't 
force myself to believe. If there is a 
God after all and he punishes me 
because I honestly don't believe in 
Him I can't help it." 



XXIX 



VV I N T E R set in. Weeks went to Ber- 
lin to attend the lectures of Paulssen, 
and Hayward began to think of going 
South. The local theatre opened its 
doors. Philip and Playward went to it 
two or three times a week with the 
praiseworthy intention of improving 
their German, and Philip found it a 
more diverting manner of perfecting 
himself in the language than listening 
to sermons. They found themselves in 
the midst of a revival of the drama. 
Several of Ibsen's plays were on the 



repertory for the winter; Sudermann's 
Die Ehre was then a new play, and 
on its production in the quiet univer- 
sity town caused the greatest excite- 
ment; it was extravagantly praised and 
bitterly attacked; other dramatists fol- 
lowed with plays written under the 
modern influence, and Philip wit- 
nessed a series of works in which the 
vileness of mankind was displayed be- 
fore him. He had never been to a 
play in his life till then (poor touring 
companies sometimes came to the As- 



86 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



sembly Rooms at Blackstable, but the 
Vicar, partly on account of his pro- 
fession, partly because he thought it 
would be vulgar, never went to see 
them; and the passion of the stage 
seized him. He felt a thrill the mo- 
ment he got into the little, shabby, 
ill-lit theatre. Soon he came to know 
the peculiarities of the small company, 
and by the casting could tell at once 
what were the characteristics of the 
persons in the drama; but this made 
no difference to him. To him it was 
real life. It was a strange life, dark 
and tortured, in which men and 
women showed to remorseless eyes the 
evil that was in their hearts: a fair 
face concealed a depraved mind; the 
virtuous used virtue as a mask to hide 
their secret vice, the seeming-strong 
fainted within with their weakness; 
the honest were corrupt, the chaste 
were lewd. You seemed to dwell in a 
room where the night before an orgy 
had taken place: the windows had 
not been opened in the morning; the 
air was foul with the dregs of beer, 
and stale smoke, and flaring gas. There 
was no laughter. At most you snig- 
gered at the hypocrite or the fool: 
the characters expressed themselves 
in cruel words that seemed wrung out 
of their hearts by shame and anguish. 
Philip was carried away by the sor- 
did intensity of it. He seemed to see 
the world again in another fashion, 
and this world too he was anxious to 
know. After the play was over he went 
to a tavern and sat in the bright 
warmth with Hayward to eat a sand- 
wich and drink a glass of beer. All 
round were little groups of students, 
talking and laughing; and here and 
there was a family, father and mother, 
a couple of sons and a girl; and some- 
times the girl said a sharp thing, and 
the father leaned back in his chair 
and laughed, laughed heartily. It was 
very friendly and innocent. There 



was a pleasant homeliness in the scene, 
but for this Philip had no eyes. His 
thoughts ran on the play he had just 
come from. 

"You do feel it's hfe, don't you?" 
he said excitedly. "You know, I don't 
think I can stay here much longer. I 
want to get to London so that I can 
really begin. I want to have experi- 
ences. I'm so tired of preparing for 
life : I want to live it now." 

Sometimes Hayward left Philip to 
go home by himself. He would never 
exactly reply to Philip's eager ques- 
tioning, but with a merry, rather 
stupid laugh, hinted at a romantic 
amour; he quoted a few lines of 
Rossetti, and once showed Philip a 
sonnet in which passion and purple, 
pessimism and pathos, were packed 
together on the subject of a young lady 
called Trude. Hayward surrounded 
his sordid and vulgar little adventures 
with a glow of poetry, and thought 
he touched hands with Pericles and 
Pheidias because to describe the ob- 
ject of his attentions he used the word 
hetaira instead of one of those, more 
blunt and apt, provided by the Eng- 
lish language. Philip in the daytime 
had been led by curiosity to pass 
through the little street near the old 
bridge, with its neat white houses and 
green shutters, in which according to 
Hayward the Fraulein Trude lived; 
but the women, with brutal faces and 
painted cheeks, who came out of their 
doors and cried out to him, filled him 
with fear; and he fled in horror from 
the rough hands that sought to detain 
him. He yearned above all things for 
experience and felt himself ridiculous 
because at his age he had not enjoyed 
that which all fiction taught him was 
the most important thing in life; but 
he had the unfortunate gift of seeing 
things as they were, and the reality 
which was ofi^ered him diff^ered too 
terribly from the ideal of his dreams. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



87 



He did not know how wide a coun- 
try, arid and precipitous, must be 
crossed before the traveller through life 
comes to an acceptance of reality. It 
is an illusion that youth is happy, an 
illusion of those who have lost it; 
but the young know they are 
wretched, for they are full of the 
truthless ideals which have been in- 
stilled into them, and each time they 
come in contact with the real they are 
bruised and wounded. It looks as if 
they were victims of a conspiracy; for 
the books they read, ideal by the neces- 
sity of selection, and the conversation 
of their elders, who look back upon 
the past through a rosy haze of for- 
getfulness, prepare them for an unreal 
life. They must discover for them- 
selves that all they have read and all 
they have been told are lies, lies, lies; 
and each discovery is another nail 
driven into the body on the cross of 



life. The strange thing is that each 
one who has gone through that bitter 
disillusionment adds to it in his turn, 
unconsciously, by the power within 
him which is stronger than himself. 
The companionship of Hayward was 
the worst possible thing for Philip. 
He was a man who saw nothing for 
himself, but only through a literary 
atmosphere, and he was dangerous 
because he had deceived himself into 
sincerity. He honestly mistook his 
sensuality for romantic emotion, his 
vacillation for the artistic tempera- 
ment, and his idleness for philosophic 
calm. His mind, vulgar in its effort at 
refinement, saw everything a little 
larger than life size, with the outlines 
blurred, in a golden mist of sentimen- 
tality. He lied and never knew that 
he lied, and when it was pointed out 
to him said that lies were beautiful. 
He was an idealist. 



XXX 



Philip was restless and dissatisfied. 
Hayward's poetic allusions troubled his 
imagination, and his soul yearned for 
romance. At least that was how he 
put it to himself. 

And it happened that an incident 
was taking place in Frau Erlin's house 
which increased Philip's preoccupation 
with the matter of sex. Two or three 
times on his walks among the hills he 
had met Fraulein Cacilie wandering 
by herself. He had passed her with a 
bow, and a few yards further on had 
seen the Chinaman. He thought noth- 
ing of it; but one evening on his way 
home, when night had already fallen, 
he passed two people walking very 
close together. Hearing his footstep, 
they separated quickly, and though he 
could not see well in the darkness 



he was almost certain they were 
Cacilie and Herr Sung. Their rapid 
movement apart suggested that they 
had been walking arm in arm. Philip 
was puzzled and surprised. He had 
never paid much attention to Fraulein 
Cacilie. She was a plain girl, with a 
square face and blunt features. She 
could not have been more than six- 
teen, since she still wore her long fair 
hair in a plait. That evening at supper 
he looked at her curiously; and, 
though of late she had talked little 
at meals, she addressed him. 

"Where did you go for your walk 
today, Herr Carey?" she asked. 

"Oh, I walked up towards the 
Konigstuhl." 

"I didn't go out," she volunteered. 
"I had a headache." 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



The Chinaman, who sat next to 
her, turned round. 

"Fm so sorry," he said. "I hope it's 
better now." 

Fraulein CaciHe was evidently un- 
easy, for she spoke again to PhiKp. 

"Did you meet many people on the 
way?" 

Philip could not help reddening 
when he told a downright lie. 

"No. I don't think I saw a living 
soul." 

He fancied that a look of relief 
passed across her eyes. 

Soon, however, there could be no 
doubt that there was something be- 
tween the pair, and other people in 
the Frau Professor's house saw them 
lurking in dark places. The elderly 
ladies who sat at the head of the 
table began to discuss what was now a 
scandal. The Frau Professor was an- 
gry and harassed. She had done her 
best to see nothing. The winter was 
at hand, and it was not as easy a 
matter then as in the summer to keep 
her house full. Herr Sung was a good 
customer: he had two rooms on the 
ground floor, and he drank a bottle 
of Moselle at each meal. The Frau 
Professor charged him three marks a 
bottle and made a good profit. None 
of her other guests drank wine, and 
some of them did not even drink beer. 
Neither did she wish to lose Fraulein 
Cacilie, whose parents were in busi- 
ness in South America and paid well 
for the Frau Professor's motherly care; 
and she knew that if she wrote to 
the girl's uncle, who lived in Berlin, 
he would immediately take her away. 
The Frau Professor contented herself 
with giving them both severe looks at 
table and, though she dared not be 
rude to the Chinaman, got a certain 
satisfaction out of incivility to Cacilie. 
But the three elderly ladies were not 
content. Two were widows, and one, 
a Dutchwoman, was a spinster of 



masculine appearance; they paid the 
smallest possible sum for their pension, 
and gave a good deal of trouble, but 
they were permanent and therefore 
had to be put up with. They went to 
the Frau Professor and said that some- 
thing must be done; it was disgraceful, 
and the house was ceasing to be re- 
spectable. The Frau Professor tried 
obstinacy, anger, tears, but the three 
old ladies routed her, and with a sud- 
den assumption of virtuous indigna- 
tion she said that she would put a 
stop to the whole thing. 

After luncheon she took Cacilie 
into her bed-room and began to talk 
very seriously to her; but to her amaze- 
ment the girl adopted a brazen atti- 
tude; she proposed to go about as she 
liked; and if she chose to walk with 
the Chinaman she could not see it 
was anybody's business but her own. 
The Frau Professor threatened to write 
to her uncle. 

"Then Onkel Heinrich will put me 
in a family in Berlin for the winter, 
and that will be much nicer for me. 
And Herr Sung will come to Berlin 
too." 

The Frau Professor began to cry. 
The tears rolled down her coarse, red, 
fat cheeks; and Cacilie laughed at her. 

"That will mean three rooms empty 
all through the winter," she said. 

Then the Frau Professor tried an- 
other plan. She appealed to Fraulein 
Cacilie's better nature: she was kind, 
sensible, tolerant; she treated her no 
longer as a child, but as a grown 
woman. She said that it wouldn't be 
so dreadful, but a Chinaman, with 
his yellow skin and flat nose, and his 
little pig's eyes! That's what made it 
so horrible. It filled one with disgust 
to think of it. 

"Bitte, hitte," said Cacilie, with a 
rapid intake of the breath. "I won't 
listen to anything against him." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



"But it's not serious?" gasped Frau 
Erlin. 

"I love him. I love him. I love him." 

"Gott im Himmell" 

The Frau Professor stared at her 
with horrified surprise; she had 
thought it was no more than naughti- 
ness on the child's part, and innocent 
folly; but the passion in her voice re- 
vealed everything. Cacilie looked at 
her for a moment with flaming eyes, 
and then with a shrug of her shoul- 
ders went out of the room. 

Frau Erlin kept the details of the 
interview to herself, and a day or two 
later altered the arrangement of the 
table. She asked Herr Sung if he 
would not come and sit at her end, 
and he with his unfailing politeness 
accepted with alacrity. Cacilie took 
the change indifferently. But as if the 
discovery that the relations between 
them were known to the whole house- 
hold made them more shameless, they 
made no secret now of their walks to- 
gether, and every afternoon quite 
openly set out to wander about the 
hills. It was plain that they did not 
care what was said of them. At last 
even the placidity of Professor Erlin 
was moved, and he insisted that his 
wife should speak to the Chinaman. 
She took him aside in his turn and 
expostulated; he was ruining the girl's 
reputation, he was doing harm to the 
house, he must see how wrong and 
wicked his conduct was; but she was 
met with smiling denials; Herr Sung 
did not know what she was talking 
about, he was not paying any atten- 
tion to Fraulein Cacilie, he never 
walked with her; it was all untrue, 
every word of it. 

"Ach, Herr Sung, how can you 
say such things? You've been seen 
again and again." 

"No, you're mistaken. It's untrue." 

He looked at her with an unceas- 
ing smile, which showed his even, 



89 

little white teeth. He was quite calm. 
He denied everything. He denied 
with bland effrontery. At last the Frau 
Professor lost her temper and said 
the girl had confessed she loved him. 
He was not moved. He continued to 
smile. 

"Nonsense! Nonsense! It's all un- 
true." 

She could get nothing out of him. 
The weather grew very bad; there was 
snow and frost, and then a thaw with 
a long succession of cheerless days, 
on which walking was a poor amuse- 
ment. One evening when Philip had 
just finished his German lesson with 
the Herr Professor and was standing 
for a moment in the drawing-room, 
talking to Frau Erlin, Anna came 
quickly in. 

"Mamma, where is Cacilie?" she 
said. 

"I suppose she's in her room." 

"There's no light in it." 

The Frau Professor gave an excla- 
mation, and she looked at her daughter 
in dismay. The thought which was 
in Anna's head had flashed across hers. 

"Ring for Emil," she said hoarsely. 

This was the stupid lout who 
waited at table and did most of the 
housework. He came in. 

"Emil, go down to Herr Sung's room 
and enter without knocking. If anyone 
is there say you came in to see about 
the stove." 

No sign of astonishment appeared 
on Emil's phlegmatic face. 

He went slowly downstairs. The 
Frau Professor and Anna left the door 
open and listened. Presently they 
heard Emil come up again, and they 
called him. 

"Was any one there?" asked the 
Frau Professor. 

"Yes, Herr Sung was there." 

"Was he alone?" 

The beginning of a cunning smile 
narrowed his mouth. 



90 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"No, Fraulein Cacilie was there." 

"Oh, it's disgraceful," cried the Frau 
Professor. 

Now he smiled broadly. 

"Fraulein Cacilie is there every 
evening. She spends hours at a time 
there." 

Frau Professor began to wring her 
hands. 

"Oh, how abominable! But why 
didn't you tell me?" 

"It was no business of mine," he 
answered, slowly shrugging his shoul- 
ders. 

"I suppose they paid you well. Go 
away. Go." 

He lurched climisily to the door. 

"They must go away, mamma," said 
Anna. 

"And who is going to pay the rent? 
And the taxes are falling due. It's all 
very well for you to say they must 
go away. If they go away I can't pay 
the bills." She turned to Philip, with 
tears streaming down her face. "Ach, 
Herr Carey, you will not say what 
you have heard. If Fraulein Forster— " 
this was the Dutch spinster— "if 
Fraulein Forster knew she would 
leave at once. And if they all go we 
must close the house. I cannot afford 
to keep it." 

"Of course I won't say anything," 

"If she stays, I will not speak to 
her," said Anna. 

That evening at supper Fraulein 
Cacilie, redder than usual, with a look 
of obstinacy on her face, took her place 
punctually; but Herr Sung did not 
appear, and for a while Philip thought 
he was going to shirk the ordeal. At 
last he came, very smiling, his little 
eyes dancing with the apologies he 
made for his late arrival. He insisted 
as usual on pouring out the Frau 
Professor a glass of his Moselle, and 
he offered a glass to Fraulein Fdrster. 
The room was very hot, for the stove 
had been alight all day and the win- 



dows were seldom opened. Emil blun- 
dered about, but succeeded somehow 
in serving everyone quickly and with 
order. The three old ladies sat in 
silence, visibly disapproving: the Frau 
Professor had scarcely recovered from 
her tears; her husband was silent and 
oppressed. Conversation languished. It 
seemed to Philip that there was some- 
thing dreadful in that gathering which 
he had sat with so often; they looked 
different under the light of the two 
hanging lamps from what they had 
ever looked before; he was vaguely 
uneasy. Once he caught Cacilie's eye, 
and he thought she looked at him 
with hatred and contempt. The room 
was stifling. It was as though the 
beastly passion of that pair troubled 
them all; there was a feeling of Ori- 
ental depravity; a faint savour of joss- 
sticks, a mystery of hidden vices, 
seemed to make their breath heavy. 
Philip could feel the beating of the 
arteries in his forehead. He could not 
understand what strange emotion dis- 
tracted him; he seemed to feel some- 
thing infinitely attractive, and yet he 
was repelled and horrified. 

For several days things went on. 
The air was sickly with the unnatural 
passion which all felt about them, and 
the nerves of the little household 
seemed to grow exasperated. Only 
Herr Sung remained unaffected; he 
was no less smiling, affable, and polite 
than he had been before: one could 
not tell whether his manner was a 
triumph of civilisation or an expression 
of contempt on the part of the Ori- 
ental for the vanquished West. Cacilie 
was flaunting and cynical. At last even 
the Frau Professor could bear the 
position no longer. Suddenly panic 
seized her; for Professor Erlin with 
brutal frankness had suggested the 
possible consequences of an intrigue 
which was now manifest to everyone, 
and she saw her good name in Heidel- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



91 



berg and the repute of her house 
ruined by a scandal which could not 
possibly be hidden. For some reason, 
blinded perhaps by her interests, this 
possibility had never occurred to her; 
and now, her wits muddled by a ter- 
rible fear, she could hardly be pre- 
vented from turning the girl out of 
the house at once. It was due to 
Anna's good sense that a cautious let- 
ter was written to the uncle in Berlin 
suggesting that Cacilie should be 
taken away. 

But having made up her mind to 
lose the two lodgers, the Frau Pro- 
fessor could not resist the satisfaction 
of giving rein to the ill-temper she 
had curbed so long. She was free now 
to say anything she liked to Cacilie. 

"I have written to your uncle, 
Cacilie, to take you away. I cannot 
have you in my house any longer." 

Her little round eyes sparkled when 
she noticed the sudden whiteness of 
the girFs face. 

'Tou're shameless. Shameless," she 
went on. 

She called her foul names. 

'What did you say to my uncle 
Heinrich, Frau Professor?" the girl 
asked, suddenly falling from her at- 
titude of flaunting independence. 

"Oh, hell tell you himself. I ex- 
pect to get a letter from him tomor- 
row." 

Next day, in order to make the 
humiliation more public, at supper 
she called down the table to Cacilie. 

"I have had a letter from your 
uncle, Cacilie. You are to pack your 
things tonight, and we will put you 
in the train tomorrow morning. He 



will meet you himself in Berlin at 
the Central Bahnhof." 

"Very good, Frau Professor." 

Herr Sung smiled in the Frau Pro- 
fessor's eyes, and notwithstanding her 
protests insisted on pouring out a glass 
of wine for her. The Frau Professor 
ate her supper with a good appetite. 
But she had triumphed unwisely. Just 
before going to bed she called the 
servant. 

"Emil, if Fraulein Cacilie's box is 
ready you had better take it downstairs 
tonight. The porter will fetch it be- 
fore breakfast." 

The servant went away and in a 
moment came back. 

"Fraulein Cacilie is not in her room, 
and her bag has gone." 

With a cry the Frau Professor hur- 
ried along: the box was on the floor, 
strapped and locked; but there was no 
bag, and neither hat nor cloak. The 
dressing-table was empty. Breathing 
heavily, the Frau Professor ran down- 
stairs to the Chinaman's rooms, she 
had not moved so quickly for twenty 
years, and Emil called out after her 
to be beware she did not fall; she did 
not trouble to knock, but burst in. 
The rooms were empty. The luggage 
had gone, and the door into the gar- 
den, still open, showed how it had 
been got away. In an envelope on 
the table were notes for the money 
due on the month's board and an ap- 
proximate sum for extras. Groaning, 
suddenly overcome by her haste, the 
Frau Professor sank obesely on to a 
sofa. There could be no doubt. The 
pair had gone off together. Emil re- 
mained stolid and unmoved. 



92 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



XXXI 



H A Y w A R D, after saying for a month 
that he was going South next day 
delaying from week to week out of 
inabihty to make up his mind to the 
bother of packing and the tedium of a 
journey, had at last been driven off 
just before Christmas by the prepara- 
tions for that festival. He could not 
support the thought of a Teutonic 
merry-making. It gave him goose-flesh 
to think of the season's aggressive 
cheerfulness, and in his desire to 
avoid the obvious he determined to 
travel on Christmas Eve. 

Philip was not sorry to see him off, 
for he was a downright person and it 
irritated him that anybody should not 
know his own mind. Though much 
under Hayward's influence, he would 
not grant that indecision pointed to a 
charming sensitiveness; and he re- 
sented the shadow of a sneer with 
which Hayward looked upon his 
straight ways. They corresponded. 
Hayward was an admirable letter- 
writer, and knowing his talent took 
pains with his letters. His tempera- 
ment was receptive to the beautiful 
influences with which he came in con- 
tact, and he was able in his letters 
from Rome to put a subtle fragrance 
of Italy. He thought the city of the 
ancient Romans a little vulgar, find- 
ing distinction only in the decadence 
of the Empire; but the Rome of the 
Popes appealed to his sympathy, and 
in his chosen words, quite exquisitely, 
there appeared a Rococo beauty. He 
wrote of old church music and the 
Alban Hills, and of the languor of 
incense and the charm of the streets 
by night, in the rain, when the pave- 
ments shone and the light of the 



street lamps was mysterious. Perhaps 
he repeated these admirable letters to 
various friends. He did not know what 
a troubling effect they had upon 
Philip; they seemed to make his life 
very humdrum. With the spring Hay- 
ward grew dithyrambic. He proposed 
that Philip should come down to Italy. 
He was wasting his time at Heidel- 
berg. The Germans were gross and life 
there was common; how could the 
soul come to her own in that prim 
landscape? In Tuscany the spring was 
scattering flowers through the land, 
and Philip was nineteen; let him come 
and they could wander through the 
mountain towns of Umbria. Their 
names sang in Philip's heart. And 
Cacilie too, with her lover, had gone 
to Italy. When he thought of them 
Philip was seized with a restlessness 
he could not account for. He cursed 
his fate because he had no money to 
travel, and he knew his uncle would 
not send him more than the fifteen 
pounds a month which had been 
agreed upon. He had not managed his 
allowance very well. His pension and 
the price of his lessons left him very 
little over, and he had found going 
about with Hayward expensive. Hay- 
ward had often suggested excursions, 
a visit to the play, or a bottle of 
wine, when Philip had come to the 
end of his month's money; and with 
the folly of his age he had been un- 
willing to confess he could not afford 
an extravagance. 

Luckily Hayward's letters came sel- 
dom, and in the intervals Phihp set- 
tled down again to his industrious life. 
He had matriculated at the university 
and attended one or two courses of 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



lectures. Kuno Fischer was then at 
the height of his fame and during 
the winter had been lecturing bril- 
liantly on Schopenhauer. It was 
Philip's introduction to philosophy. 
He had a practical mind and moved 
uneasily amid the abstract; but he 
found an unexpected fascination in 
listening to metaphysical disquisitions; 
they made him breathless; it was a lit- 
tle like watching a tight-rope dancer 
doing perilous feats over an abyss; but 
it was very exciting. The pessimism 
of the subject attracted his youth; and 
he beheved that the world he was 
about to enter was a place of pitiless 
woe and of darkness. That made him 
none the less eager to enter it; and 
when, in due course, Mrs. Carey, act- 
ing as the correspondent for his guard- 
ian's views, suggested that it was time 
for him to come back to England, he 
agreed with enthusiasm. He must 
make up his mind now what he meant 
to do. If he left Heidelberg at the 
end of July they could talk things 
over during August, and it would be 
a good time to make arrangements. 

The date of his departure was set- 
tled, and Mrs. Carey wrote to him 
again. She reminded him of Miss 



93 

Wilkinson, through whose kindness 
he had gone to Frau Erlin's house at 
Heidelberg, and told him that she had 
arranged to spend a few weeks with 
them at Blackstable. She would be 
crossing from Flushing on such and 
such a day, and if he travelled at the 
same time he could look after her 
and come on to Blackstable in her 
company. Philip's shyness immedi- 
ately made him write to say that he 
could not leave till a day or two after- 
wards. He pictured himself looking 
out for Miss Wilkinson, the embar- 
rassment of going up to her and asking 
if it were she (and he might so easily 
address the v^nrong person and be 
snubbed), and then the difl&culty of 
knowing whether in the train he 
ought to talk to her or whether he 
could ignore her and read his book. 
At last he left Heidelberg. For three 
months he had been thinking of 
nothing but the future; and he went 
without regret. He never knew that 
he had been happy there. Fraulein 
Anna gave him a copy of Der 
Trompeter von Sackingen and in re- 
turn he presented her with a volume 
of William Morris. Very wisely neither 
of them ever read the other's present. 



XXXII 



Philip was surprised when he saw 
his uncle and aunt. He had never no- 
ticed before that they were quite old 
people. The Vicar received him with 
his usual, not unamiable indifference. 
He was a little stouter, a little balder, 
a little grayer. Philip saw how insignif- 
icant he was. His face was weak and 
self-indulgent. Aunt Louisa took him 
in her arms and kissed him; and tears 
of happiness flowed down her cheeks. 
Philip was touched and embarrassed; 



he had not known with what a hungry 
love she cared for him. 

"Oh, the time has seemed long 
since you've been away, Philip," she 
cried. 

She stroked his hands and looked 
into his face with glad eyes. 

'Tou've grown. You're quite a man 
now." 

There was a very small moustache 
on his upper lip. He had bought a 
razor and now and then with infinite 



94 

care shaved the down off his smooth 
chin. 

"We've been so lonely without 
you." And then shyly, with a little 
break in her voice, she asked: "You 
are glad to come back to your home, 
aren't you?" 

"Yes, rather." 

She was so thin that she seemed 
almost transparent, the arms she put 
round his neck were frail bones that 
reminded you of chicken bones, and 
her faded face was oh! so wrinkled. 
The gray curls which she still wore 
in the fashion of her youth gave her 
a queer, pathetic look; and her little 
withered body was Hke an autumn 
leaf, you felt it might be blown away 
by the first sharp wind. Philip realised 
that they had done with life, these 
two quiet little people: they belonged 
to a past generation, and they were 
waiting there patiently, rather stu- 
pidly, for death; and he, in his vigour 
and his youth, thirsting for excitement 
and adventure, was appalled at the 
waste. They had done nothing, and 
when they went it would be just 
as if they had never been. He felt a 
great pity for Aunt Louisa, and he 
loved her suddenly because she loved 
him. 

Then Miss Wilkinson, who had 
kept discreetly out of the way till the 
Careys had had a chance of welcom- 
ing their nephew, came into the room. 

"This is Miss Wilkinson, Philip," 
said Mrs. Carey. 

"The prodigal has returned," she 
said, holding out her hand. "I have 
brought a rose for the prodigal's but- 
tonhole." 

With a gay smile she pinned to 
Philip's coat the flower she had just 
picked in the garden. He blushed and 
felt foolish. He knew that Miss Wil- 
kinson was the daughter of his Uncle 
William's last rector, and he had a 
wide acquaintance with the daughters 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



of clergymen. They wore ill-cut 
clothes and stout boots. They were 
generally dressed in black, for in 
Philip's early years at Blackstable 
homespuns had not reached East 
Anglia, and the ladies of the clergy 
did not favour colours. Their hair was 
done very untidily, and they smelt 
aggressively of starched linen. They 
considered the feminine graces unbe- 
coming and looked the same whether 
they were old or young. They bore 
their religion arrogantly. The close- 
ness of their connection with the 
church made them adopt a slightly 
dictatorial attitude to the rest of man- 
kind. 

Miss Wilkinson was very different. 
She wore a white muslin gown 
stamped with gray little bunches of 
flowers, and pointed, high-heeled 
shoes, with open-work stockings. To 
Philip's inexperience it seemed that 
she was wonderfully dressed; he did 
not see that her frock was cheap and 
showy. Her hair was elaborately 
dressed, with a neat curl in the mid- 
dle of the forehead: it was very black, 
shiny and hard, and it looked as 
though it could never be in the least 
disarranged. She had large black eyes 
and her nose was slightly aquiline; in 
profile she had somewhat the look of 
a bird of prey, but full face she was 
prepossessing. She smiled a great deal, 
but her mouth was large and when 
she smiled she tried to hide her teeth, 
which were big and rather yellow. But 
what embarrassed Philip most was that 
she was heavily powdered: he had 
very strict views on feminine behav- 
iour and did not think a lady ever 
powdered; but of course Miss Wil- 
kinson was a lady because she was a 
clergyman's daughter, and a clergy- 
man was a gentleman. 

Philip made up his mind to dislike 
her thoroughly. She spoke with a 
shght French accent; and he did not 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



know why she should, since she had 
been bom and bred in the heart of 
England. He thought her smile af- 
fected, and the coy sprightliness of 
her manner irritated him. For two or 
three days he remained silent and 
hostile, but Miss Wilkinson apparently 
did not notice it. She was very affable. 
She addressed her conversation almost 
exclusively to him, and there was 
something flattering in the way she 
appealed constantly to his sane judg- 
ment. She made him laugh too, and 
Philip could never resist people who 
amused him: he had a gift now and 
then of saying neat things; and it was 
pleasant to have an appreciative hs- 
tener. Neither the Vicar nor Mrs. 
Carey had a sense of humour, and 
they never laughed at anything he 
said. As he grew used to Miss Wilkin- 
son, and his shyness left him, he be- 
gan to like her better; he found the 
French accent picturesque; and at a 
garden party which the doctor gave 
she was very much better dressed than 
anyone else. She wore a blue foulard 
with large white spots, and Philip was 
tickled at the sensation it caused. 

"I'm certain they think you're no 
better than you should be," he told 
her, laughing. 

"It's the dream of my life to be 
taken for an abandoned hussy," she 
answered. 

One day when Miss Wilkinson was 
in her room he asked Aunt Louisa 
how old she was. 

"Oh, my dear, you should never 
ask a lady's age; but she's certainly too 
old for you to marry." 

The Vicar gave his slow, obese 
smile. 

"She's no chicken, Louisa," he said. 
"She was nearly grown up when we 
were in Lincolnshire, and that was 
twenty years ago. She wore a pigtail 
hanging down her back." 

"She may not have been more than 



95 

ten," said Philip. 

"She was older than that," said 
Aunt Louisa. 

"I think she was near twenty," said 
the Vicar. 

"Oh no, William. Sixteen or seven- 
teen at the outside." 

"That would make her well over 
thirty," said Philip. 

At that moment Miss Wilkinson 
tripped downstairs, singing a song by 
Benjamin Goddard. She had put her 
hat on, for she and Philip were go- 
ing for a walk, and she held out her 
hand for him to button her glove. He 
did it awkwardly. He felt embarrassed 
but gallant. Conversation went easily 
between them now, and as they 
strolled along they talked of all man- 
ner of things. She told Philip about 
Berlin, and he told her of his year in 
Heidelberg. As he spoke, things which 
had appeared of no importance gained 
a new interest: he described the peo- 
ple at Frau Erlin's house; and to the 
conversations between Hayward and 
Weeks, which at the time seemed so 
significant, he gave a little twist, so 
that they looked absurd. He was flat- 
tered at Miss Wilkinson's laughter. 

"I'm quite frightened of you," she 
said. "You're so sarcastic." 

Then she asked him playfully 
whether he had not had any love 
affairs at Heidelberg. Without think- 
ing, he frankly answered that he had 
not; but she refused to beHeve him. 

"How secretive you are!" she said. 
"At your age is it likely?" 

He blushed and laughed. 

"You want to know too much," he 
said. 

"Ah, I thought so," she laughed tri- 
umphantly. "Look at him blushing." 

He was pleased that she should 
think he had been a sad dog, and he 
changed the conversation so as to make 
her believe he had all sorts of romantic 
things to conceal. He was angry with 



96 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



himself that he had not. There had 
been no opportunity. 

Miss Wilkinson was dissatisfied 
with her lot. She resented having to 
earn her living and told Philip a long 
story of an uncle of her mother's, 
who had been expected to leave her 
a fortune but had married his cook 
and changed his will. She hinted at 
the luxury of her home and compared 
her life in Lincolnshire, with horses 
to ride and carriages to drive in, with 
the mean dependence of her present 
state. Philip was a little puzzled when 
he mentioned this afterwards to Aunt 
Louisa, and she told him that when 
she knew the Wilkinsons they had 
never had anything more than a pony 
and a dog-cart; Aunt Louisa had heard 
of the rich uncle, but as he was mar- 
ried and had children before Emily 
was bom she could never have had 
much hope of inheriting his fortune. 
Miss Wilkinson had little good to say 
of Berlin, where she was now in a 
situation. She complained of the vul- 
garity of German life, and compared 
it bitterly with the brilliance of Paris, 
where she had spent a number of 
years. She did not say how many. She 
had been governess in the family of 
a fashionable portrait-painter, who had 
married a Jewish wife of means, and 
in their house she had met many dis- 
tinguished people. She dazzled Philip 
with their names. Actors from the 
Comedie Frangaise had come to the 
house frequently, and Coquelin, sit- 
ting next her at dinner, had told her 
he had never met a foreigner who 
spoke such perfect French. Alphonse 
Daudet had come also, and he had 
given her a copy of Sapho: he had 
promised to write her name in it, but 
she had forgotten to remind him. She 
treasured the volume none the less 
and she would lend it to Philip. Then 
there was Maupassant. Miss Wilkin- 
son with a rippling laugh looked at 



Philip knowingly. What a man, but 
what a writer! Hayward had talked of 
Maupassant, and his reputation was 
not unknown to Philip. 

"Did he make love to you?" he 
asked. 

The words seemed to stick funnily 
in his throat, but he asked them never- 
theless. He liked Miss Wilkinson very 
much now, and was thrilled by her 
conversation, but he could not imagine 
anyone making love to her. 

"What a question!" she cried. "Poor 
Guy, he made love to every woman 
he met. It was a habit that he could 
not break himself of." 

She sighed a little, and seemed to 
look back tenderly on the past. 

"He was a charming man," she 
murmured. 

A greater experience than Philip's 
would have guessed from these words 
the probabilities of the encounter: the 
distinguished writer invited to lunch- 
eon en famille, the governess coming 
in sedately with the two tall girls she 
was teaching; the introduction : 

"Notre Miss Anglaise." 

"Mademoiselle." 

And the luncheon during which 
the Miss Anglaise sat silent while the 
distinguished writer talked to his host 
and hostess. 

But to Philip her words called up 
much more romantic fancies. 

"Do tell me all about him," he said 
excitedly. 

"There's nothing to tell," she said 
truthfully, but in such a manner as 
to convey that three volumes would 
scarcely have contained the lurid facts. 
"You mustn't be curious." 

She began to talk of Paris. She 
loved the boulevards and the Bois. 
There was grace in every street, and 
the trees in the Champs Elysees had 
a distinction which trees had not else- 
where. They were sitting on a stile 
now by the high-road, and Miss Wil- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



kinson looked with disdain upon the 
stately elms in front of them. And 
the theatres; the plays were brilliant, 
and the acting was incomparable. She 
often went with Madame Foyot, the 
mother of the girls she was educating, 
when she was trying on clothes. 

"Oh, what a misery to be poor!" 
she cried. "These beautiful things, it's 
only in Paris they know how to dress, 
and not to be able to afford them! 
Poor Madame Foyot, she had no fig- 
ure. Sometimes the dressmaker used 
to whisper to me: *Ah, Mademoiselle, 
if she only had your figure.' " 

Philip noticed then that Miss Wil- 
kinson had a robust form, and was 
proud of it. 

"Men are so stupid in England, 
They only think of the face. The 
French, who are a nation of lovers, 
know how much more important the 
figure is." 

Philip had never thought of such 
things before, but he observed now 
that Miss Wilkinson's ankles were 
thick and ungainly. He withdrew his 
eyes quickly. 

"You should go to France. Why 
don't you go to Paris for a year? You 
would learn French, and it would— 
deniaiser you." 

"What is that?" asked Philip. 

She laughed slyly. 

"You must look it out in the dic- 
tionary. Englishmen do not know how 
to treat women. They are so shy. Shy- 
ness is ridiculous in a man. They don't 
know how to make love. They can't 
even tell a woman she is charming 
without looking foolish." 

Philip felt himself absurd. Miss 
Wilkinson evidently expected him to 
behave very differently; and he would 
have been delighted to say gallant 
and witty things, but they never oc- 
curred to him; and when they did he 
was too much afraid of making a fool 
of himself to say them. 



97 

"Oh, I love Paris," sighed Miss Wil- 
kinson. "But I had to go to Berlin. I 
was with the Foyots till the girls mar- 
ried, and then I could get nothing to 
do, and I had the chance of this post 
in Berlin. They're relations of Mad- 
ame Foyot, and I accepted. I had a 
tiny apartment in the Rue Breda, on 
the cinquieme: it wasn't at all respect- 
able. You know about the Rue Breda 
—ces dames, you know." 

Philip nodded, not knowing at all 
what she meant, but vaguely sus- 
pecting, and anxious she should not 
think him too ignorant. 

"But I didn't care. Je suis lihre, 
nest-ce-pas?" She was very fond of 
speaking French, which indeed she 
spoke well. "Once I had such a curious 
adventure there." 

She paused a little and Philip 
pressed her to tell it. 

"You wouldn't tell me yours in 
Heidelberg," she said. 

"They were so unadventurous," he 
retorted. 

"I don't know what Mrs. Carey 
would say if she knew the sort of 
things we talk about together." 

"You don't imagine I shall tell her." 

"Will you promise?" 

When he had done this, she told 
him how an art-student who had a 
room on the floor above her— but she 
interrupted herself. 

"Why don't you go in for art? You 
paint so prettily." 

"Not well enough for that." 

"That is for others to judge. ]e my 
connais, and I believe you have the 
making of a great artist." 

"Can't you see Uncle William's face 
if I suddenly told him I wanted to 
go to Paris and study art?" 

"You're your own master, aren't 
you?" 

"You're trying to put me off. Please 
go on with the story." 

Miss Wilkinson, with a little laugh, 



98 

went on. The art-student had passed 
her several times on the stairs, and she 
had paid no particular attention. She 
saw that he had fine eyes, and he took 
off his hat very politely. And one day 
she found a letter slipped under her 
door. It was from him. He told her 
that he had adored her for months, 
and that he waited about the stairs 
for her to pass. Oh, it was a charming 
letter! Of course she did not reply, but 
what woman could help being flat- 
tered? And next day there was another 
letter! It was wonderful, passionate, 
and touching. When next she met 
him on the stairs she did not know 
which way to look. And every day 
the letters came, and now he begged 
her to see him. He said he would 
come in the evening, vers neuf heures, 
and she did not know what to do. 
Of course it was impossible, and he 
might ring and ring, but she would 
never open the door; and then while 
she was waiting for the tinkling of the 
bell, all nerves, suddenly he stood be- 
fore her. She had forgotten to shut the 
door when she came in. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"C'etait une fatalite." 

"And what happened then?" asked 
Phihp. 

"That is the end of the story," she 
replied, with a ripple of laughter. 

Philip was silent for a moment. His 
heart beat quickly, and strange emo- 
tions seemed to be hustling one an- 
other in his heart. He saw the dark 
staircase and the chance meetings, and 
he admired the boldness of the letters 
—oh, he would never have dared to 
do that— and then the silent, almost 
mysterious entrance. It seemed to him 
the very soul of romance. 

"What was he like?" 

"Oh, he was handsome. Chamtant 
gargon." 

"Do you know him still?" 

Philip felt a slight feeUng of irrita- 
tion as he asked this. 

"He treated me abominably. Men 
are always the same. You're heartless, 
all of you." 

"I don't know about that," said 
Philip, not without embarrassment. 

"Let us go home," said Miss Wilkin- 



XXXIII 



Philip could not get Miss Wilkin- 
son's story out of his head. It was 
clear enough what she meant even 
though she cut it short, and he was a 
little shocked. That sort of thing was 
all very well for married women, he 
had read enough French novels to 
know that in France it was indeed 
the rule, but Miss Wilkinson was 
English and unmarried; her father 
was a clergyman. Then it struck him 
that the art-student probably was 
neither the first nor the last of her 
lovers, and he gasped: he had never 
looked upon Miss Wilkinson like 



that; it seemed incredible that any- 
one should make love to her. In his 
ingenuousness he doubted her story 
as little as he doubted what he read 
in books, and he was angry that such 
wonderful things never happened to 
him. It was humiliating that if Miss 
Wilkinson insisted upon his telling 
her of his adventures in Heidelberg 
he would have nothing to tell. It 
was true that he had some power of 
invention, but he was not sure whether 
he could persuade her that he was 
steeped in vice; women were full of 
intuition, he had read that, and she 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



99 



might easily discover that he was fib- 
bing. He blushed scarlet as he thought 
of her laughing up her sleeve. 

Miss Wilkinson played the piano 
and sang in a rather tired voice; but 
her songs, Massenet, Benjamin God- 
dard, and Augusta Holmes, were new 
to Philip; and together they spent 
many hours at the piano. One day 
she wondered if he had a voice and 
insisted on trying it. She told him he 
had a pleasant baritone and offered 
to give him lessons. At first with his 
usual bashfulness he refused, but 
she insisted, and then every morning 
at a convenient time after breakfast 
she gave him an hour's lesson. She 
had a natural gift for teaching, and it 
was clear that she was an excellent 
governess. She had method and firm- 
ness. Though her French accent was 
so much part of her that it remained, 
all the mellifluousness of her manner 
left her when she was engaged in 
teaching. She put up with no non- 
sense. Her voice became a little per- 
emptory, and instinctively she sup- 
pressed inattention and corrected slov- 
enliness. She knew what she was about 
and put Philip to scales and exer- 
cises. 

When the lesson was over she re- 
sumed without effort her seductive 
smiles, her voice became again soft 
and winning, but Philip could not so 
easily put away the pupil as she the 
pedagogue; and this impression con- 
flicted with the feelings her stories 
had aroused in him. He looked at 
her more narrowly. He liked her much 
better in the evening than in the 
morning. In the morning she was 
rather lined and the skin of her neck 
was just a little rough. He wished she 
would hide it, but the weather was 
very warm just then and she wore 
blouses which were cut low. She was 
very fond of white; in the morning 
it did not suit her. At night she often 



looked very attractive, she put on a 
gown which was almost a dinner 
dress, and she wore a chain of garnets 
round her neck; the lace about her 
bosom and at her elbows gave her a 
pleasant softness, and the scent she 
wore (at Blackstable no one used any- 
thing but Eau de Cologne, and that 
only on Sundays or when suffering 
from a sick headache) was troubling 
and exotic. She really looked very 
young then. 

Philip was much exercised over her 
age. He added twenty and seventeen 
together, and could not bring them to 
a satisfactory total. He asked Aunt 
Louisa more than once why she 
thought Miss Wilkinson was thirty- 
seven: she didn't look more than 
thirty, and everyone knew that for- 
eigners aged more rapidly than Eng- 
lish women; Miss Wilkinson had lived 
so long abroad that she might almost 
be called a foreigner. He personally 
wouldn't have thought her more than 
twenty-six. 

"She's more than that," said Aunt 
Louisa. 

Philip did not believe in the ac- 
curacy of the Careys' statements. All 
they distinctly remembered was that 
Miss Wilkinson had not got her hair 
up the last time they saw her in Lin- 
colnshire. Well, she might have been 
twelve then: it was so long ago and 
the Vicar was always so unreliable. 
They said it was twenty years ago, 
but people used round figures, and it 
was just as likely to be eighteen years, 
or seventeen. Seventeen and twelve 
were only twenty-nine, and hang it all, 
that wasn't old, was iti^ Cleopatra was 
forty-eight when Antony threw away 
the world for her sake. 

It was a fine summer. Day after 
day was hot and cloudless; but the 
heat was tempered by the neighbour- 
hood of the sea, and there was a 
pleasant exhilaration in the air, so 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



that one was excited and not op- 
pressed by the August sunshine. There 
was a pond in the garden in which a 
fountain played; water hhes grew in 
it and gold fish sunned themselves 
on the surface. Philip and Miss Wil- 
kinson used to take rugs and cushions 
there after dinner and lie on the 
lawn in the shade of a tall hedge of 
roses. They talked and read all the 
afternoon. They smoked cigarettes, 
which the Vicar did not allow in the 
house; he thought smoking a disgust- 
ing habit, and used frequently to say 
that it was disgraceful for anyone to 
grow a slave to a habit. He forgot 
that he was himself a slave to after- 
noon tea. 

One day Miss Wilkinson gave Philip 
La Vie de Boheme, She had found 
it by accident when she was rum- 
maging among the books in the Vic- 
ar's study. It had been bought in a 
lot with something Mr. Carey wanted 
and had remained undiscovered for 
ten years. 

Philip began to read Murger's fas- 
cinating, ill-written, absurd master- 
piece, and fell at once under its spell. 
His soul danced with joy at that 
picture of starvation which is so good- 
humoured, of squalor which is so 
picturesque, of sordid love which is 
so romantic, of bathos which is so 
moving. Rodolphe and Mimi, Musette 
and Schaunard! They wander through 
the gray streets of the Latin Quarter, 
finding refuge now in one attic, now 
in another, in their quaint costumes 
of Louis Philippe, with their tears 
and their smiles, happy-go-lucky and 
reckless. Who can resist themr* It is 
only when you return to the book 
with a sounder judgment that you 
find how gross their pleasures were, 
how vulgar their minds; and you feel 
the utter worthlessness, as artists and 
as human beings, of that gay pro- 
cession. Philip was enraptured. 



"Don't you wish you were going 
to Paris instead of London?" asked 
Miss Wilkinson, smiling at his en- 
thusiasm. 

"It's too late now even if I did," 
he answered. 

During the fortnight he had been 
back from Germany there had been 
much discussion between himself and 
his uncle about his future. He had 
refused definitely to go to Oxford, and 
now that there was no chance of his 
getting scholarships even Mr. Carey 
came to the conclusion that he could 
not afford it. His entire fortune had 
consisted of only two thousand 
pounds, and though it had been in- 
vested in mortgages at five per cent, he 
had not been able to live on the in- 
terest. It was now a little reduced. 
It would be absurd to spend two 
hundred a year, the least he could 
live on at a university, for three years 
at Oxford which would lead him no 
nearer to earning his living. He was 
anxious to go straight to London. Mrs. 
Carey thought there were only four 
professions for a gentleman, the Army, 
the Navy, the Law, and the Church. 
She had added medicine because her 
brother-in-law practised it, but did not 
forget that in her young days no one 
ever considered the doctor a gentle- 
man. The first two were out of the 
question, and Philip was firm in his 
refusal to be ordained. Only the law 
remained. The local doctor had sug- 
gested that many gentlemen now went 
in for engineering, but Mrs. Carey 
opposed the idea at once. 

"I shouldn't like Philip to go into 
trade," she said. 

"No, he must have a profession," 
answered the Vicar. 

"Why not make him a doctor like 
his father?" 

"I should hate it," said Philip. 

Mrs. Carey was not sorry. The Bar 
seemed out of the question, since he 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



lOI 



was not going to Oxford, for the 
Careys were under the impression that 
a degree was still necessary for success 
in that calling; and finally it was 
suggested that he should become arti- 
cled to a solicitor. They wrote to the 
family lawyer, Albert Nixon, who 
was co-executor with the Vicar of 
Blackstable for the late Henry Car- 
ey's estate, and asked him whether 
he would take Philip. In a day or 
two the answer came back that he 
had not a vacancy, and was very much 
opposed to the whole scheme; the 
profession was greatly overcrowded, 
and without capital or connections a 
man had small chance of becoming 
more than a managing clerk; he sug- 
gested, however, that Philip should 
become a chartered accountant. 
Neither the Vicar nor his wife knew 
in the least what this was, and Philip 
had never heard of anyone being a 
chartered accountant; but another let- 
ter from the solicitor explained that 
the growth of modern businesses and 
the increase of companies had led to 
the formation of many firms of ac- 
countants to examine the books and 
put into the financial affairs of their 
clients an order which old-fashioned 
methods had lacked. Some years 
before a Royal Charter had been ob- 
tained, and the profession was becom- 
ing every year more respectable, lucra- 
tive, and important. The chartered 
accountants whom Albert Nixon had 
employed for thirty years happened 
to have a vacancy for an articled 
pupil, and would take Philip for a 
fee of three hundred pounds. Half 
of this would be returned during the 
five years the articles lasted in the 
form of salary. The prospect was not 
exciting, but Philip felt that he must 
decide on something, and the thought 
of living in London over-balanced the 
slight shrinking he felt. The Vicar 
of Blackstable wrote to ask Mr. Nixon 



whether it was a profession suited to 
a gentleman; and Mr. Nixon replied 
that, since the Charter, men were go- 
ing into it who had been to public 
schools and a university; moreover, if 
Philip disliked the work and after a 
year wished to leave, Herbert Carter, 
for that was the accountant's name, 
would return half the money paid for 
the articles. This settled it, and it was 
arranged that Philip should start work 
on the fifteenth of September. 

"I have a full month before me," 
said Philip. 

"And then you go to freedom and I 
to bondage," returned Miss Wilkin- 
son. 

Her holidays were to last six weeks, 
and she would be leaving Blackstable 
only a day or two before Philip. 

"I wonder if we shall ever meet 
again," she said. 

"I don't know why not." 

"Oh, don't speak in that practical 
way. I never knew anyone so unsenti- 
mental." 

Philip reddened. He was afraid 
that Miss Wilkinson would think him 
a milksop: after all she was a young 
woman, sometimes quite pretty, and 
he was getting on for twenty; it was 
absurd that they should talk of noth- 
ing but art and literature. He ought 
to make love to her. They had talked 
a good deal of love. There was the 
art-student in' the Rue Breda, and 
then there was the painter in whose 
family she had lived so long in Paris: 
he had asked her to sit for him, and 
had started to make love to her so 
violently that she was forced to in- 
vent excuses not to sit to him again. 
It was clear enough that Miss Wilkin- 
son was used to attentions of that 
sort. She looked very nice now in a 
large straw hat: it was hot that after- 
noon, the hottest day they had had, 
and beads of sweat stood in a line on 
her upper lip. He called to mind 



I02 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Fraulein Cacilie and Herr Sung. He 
had never thought of CaciHe in an 
amorous way, she was exceedingly 
plain; but now, looking back, the af- 
fair seemed very romantic. He had a 
chance of romance too. Miss Wilkin- 
son was practically French, and that 
added zest to a possible adventure. 
When he thought of it at night in 
bed, or when he sat by himself in the 
garden reading a book, he was thrilled 
by it; but when he saw Miss Wilkin- 
son it seemed less picturesque. 

At all events, after what she had 
told him, she would not be surprised 
if he made love to her. He had a 
feeling that she must think it odd of 
him to make no sign: perhaps it was 
only his fancy, but once or twice in 
the last day or two he had imagined 
that there was a suspicion of con- 
tempt in her eyes. 

"A penny for your thoughts," said 
Miss Wilkinson, looking at him with 
a smile. 

"Vm. not going to tell you," he 
answered. 

He was thinking that he ought to 
kiss her there and then. He wondered 
if she expected him to do it; but after 
all he didn't see how he could without 
any preliminary business at all. She 
would just think him mad, or she 
might slap his face; and perhaps she 
would complain to his uncle. He won- 
dered how Herr Sung had started 
with Fraulein Cacilie. It would be 
beastly if she told his uncle: he knew 
what his uncle was, he would tell the 
doctor and Josiah Graves; and he 
would look a perfect fool. Aunt Louisa 
kept on saying that Miss Wilkinson 
was thirty-seven if she was a day; he 
shuddered at the thought of the ridi- 
cule he would be exposed to; they 
would say she was old enough to be 
his mother. 

"Twopence for your thoughts," 
smiled Miss Wilkinson. 



"I was thinking about you," he an- 
swered boldly. 

That at all events committed him to 
nothing. 

"What were you thinking?" 

"Ah, now you want to know too 
much." 

"Naughty boy!" said Miss Wilkin- 
son. 

There it was again! Whenever he 
had succeeded in working himself up 
she said something which reminded 
him of the governess. She called him 
playfully a naughty boy when he did 
not sing his exercises to her satisfac- 
tion. This time he grew quite sulky. 

"I wish you wouldn't treat me as if 
I were a child." 

"Are you cross?" 

"Very." 

"I didn't mean to." 

She put out her hand and he took 
it. Once or twice lately when they 
shook hands at night he had fancied 
she slightly pressed his hand, but this 
time there was no doubt about it. 

He did not quite know what he 
ought to say next. Here at last was 
his chance of an adventure, and he 
would be a fool not to take it; but it 
was a little ordinary, and he had ex- 
pected more glamour. He had read 
many descriptions of love, and he felt 
in himself none of that uprush of 
emotion which novelists described; he 
was not carried off his feet in wave 
upon wave of passion; nor was Miss 
Wilkinson the ideal: he had often 
pictured to himself the great violet 
eyes and the alabaster skin of some 
lovely girl, and he had thought of 
himself burying his face in the rip- 
pling masses of her auburn hair. He 
could not imagine himself burying his 
face in Miss Wilkinson's hair, it al- 
ways struck him as a little sticky. All 
the same it would be very satisfactory 
to have an intrigue, and he thrilled 
with the legitimate pride he would 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



103 



enjoy in his conquest. He owed it to 
himself to seduce her. He made up 
his mind to kiss Miss Wilkinson; not 
then, but in the evening; it would be 
easier in the dark, and after he had 
kissed her the rest would follow. He 
would kiss her that very evening. He 
swore an oath to that effect. 

He laid his plans. After supper he 
suggested that they should take a stroll 
in the garden. Miss Wilkinson ac- 
cepted, and they sauntered side by 
side. Philip was very nervous. He did 
not know why, but the conversation 
would not lead in the right direction; 
he had decided that the first thing 
to do was to put his arm round her 
waist; but he could not suddenly put 
his arm round her waist when she was 
talking of the regatta which was to be 
held next week. He led her artfully 
into the darkest parts of the garden, 
but having arrived there his courage 
failed him. They sat on a bench, and 
he had really made up his mind that 
here was his opportunity when Miss 
Wilkinson said she was sure there were 
earwigs and insisted on moving. They 
walked round the garden once more, 
and Philip promised himself he would 
take the plunge before they arrived 
at that bench again; but as they 
passed the house, they saw Mrs. Carey 
standing at the door. 

"Hadn't you young people better 
come in? I'm sure the night air isn't 
good for you." 

"Perhaps we had better go in," said 
Philip. "I don't want you to catch 
cold." 

He said it with a sigh of relief. He 
could attempt nothing more that 
night. But afterwards, when he was 
alone in his room, he was furious 
with himself. He had been a perfect 
fool. He was certain that Miss Wilkin- 
son expected him to kiss her, other- 
wise she wouldn't have come into the 
garden. She was always saying that 



only Frenchmen knew how to treat 
women. Philip had read French nov- 
els. If he had been a Frenchman he 
would have seized her in his arms and 
told her passionately that he adored 
her; he would have pressed his lips 
on her nuque. He did not know why 
Frenchmen always kissed ladies on 
the nuque. He did not himself see 
anything so very attractive in the nape 
of the neck. Of course it was much 
easier for Frenchmen to do these 
things; the language was such an aid; 
Philip could never help feeling that 
to say passionate things in English 
sounded a little absurd. He wished 
now that he had never undertaken 
the siege of Miss Wilkinson's virtue; 
the first fortnight had been so jolly, 
and now he was wretched; but he was 
determined not to give in, he would 
never respect himself again if he did, 
and he made up his mind irrevocably 
that the next night he would kiss her 
without fail. 

Next day when he got up he saw it 
was raining, and his first thought was 
that they would not be able to go into 
the garden that evening. He was in 
high spirits at breakfast. Miss Wilkin- 
son sent Mary Ann in to say that she 
had a headache and would remain in 
bed. She did not come down till tea- 
time, when she appeared in a be- 
coming wrapper and a pale face; but 
she was quite recovered by supper, 
and the meal was very cheerful. After 
prayers she said she would go straight 
to bed, and she kissed Mrs. Carey. 
Then she turned to Philip. 

"Good gracious!" she cried. "I was 
just going to kiss you too." 

"Why don't you?" he said. 

She laughed and held out her hand. 
She distinctly pressed his. 

The following day there was not a 
cloud in the sky, and the garden was 
sweet and fresh after the rain. Philip 
went down to the beach to bathe and 



I04 

when he came home ate a magnifi- 
cent dinner. They were having a ten- 
nis party at the vicarage in the after- 
noon and Miss Wilkinson put on her 
best dress. She certainly knew how to 
wear her clothes, and Philip could not 
help noticing how elegant she looked 
beside the curate's wife and the doc- 
tor's married daughter. There were 
two roses in her waistband. She sat 
in a garden chair by the side of the 
lawn, holding a red parasol over her- 
self, and the light on her face was 
very becoming. Philip was fond of 
tennis. He served well and as he ran 
clumsily played close to the net: not- 
withstanding his club-foot he was 
quick, and it was difficult to get a ball 
past him. He was pleased because he 
won all his sets. At tea he lay down at 
Miss Wilkinson's feet, hot and pant- 
ing. 

"Flannels suit you," she said. "You 
look very nice this afternoon." 

He blushed with delight. 

"I can honestly return the compli- 
ment. You look perfectly ravishing." 

She smiled and gave him a long 
look with her black eyes. 

After supper he insisted that she 
should come out. 

"Haven't you had enough exercise 
for one day 7' 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"It'll be lovely in the garden to- 
night. The stars are all out." 

He was in high spirits. 

"D'you know, Mrs. Carey has been 
scolding me on your account?" said 
Miss Wilkinson, when they were 
sauntering through the kitchen gar- 
den. "She says I mustn't flirt with 
you." 

"Have you been flirting with me? 
I hadn't noticed it." 

"She was only joking." 

"It was very unkind of you to refuse 
to kiss me last night." 

"If you saw the look your uncle 
gave me when I said what I did!" 

"Was that all that prevented your" 

"I prefer to kiss people without 
witnesses." 

"There are no witnesses now." 

Philip put his arm round her waist 
and kissed her lips. She only laughed 
a little and made no attempt to with- 
draw. It had come quite naturally. 
Philip was very proud of himself. 
He said he would, and he had. It 
was the easiest thing in the world. He 
wished he had done it before. He 
did it again. 

"Oh, you mustn't," she said. 

"Why not?" 

"Because I like it," she laughed. 



XXXIV 



Next day after dinner they took 
their rugs and cushions to the fountain, 
and their books; but they did not 
read. Miss Wilkinson made herself 
comfortable and she opened the red 
sun-shade. Philip was not at all shy 
now, but at first she would not let him 
kiss her. 

"It was very wrong of me last 
night," she said. "I couldn't sleep, I 



felt I'd done so wrong." 

"What nonsense!" he cried. "I'm 
sure you slept like a top." 

"What do you think your uncle 
would say if he knew?" 

"There's no reason why he should 
know." 

He leaned over her, and his heart 
went pit-a-pat. 

"Why d'you want to kiss me?" 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



105 



He knew he ought to reply: "Be- 
cause I love you." But he could not 
bring himself to say it. 

"Why do you thinkr"" he asked in- 
stead. 

She looked at him with smiling 
eyes and touched his face with the tips 
of her fingers. 

"How smooth your face is," she 
murmured. 

"I want shaving av^^ully," he said. 

It was astonishing how difficult he 
found it to make romantic speeches. 
He found that silence helped him 
much more than words. He could 
look inexpressible things. Miss Wil- 
kinson sighed. 

"Do you like me at all?" 

"Yes, awfully." 

When he tried to kiss her again she 
did not resist. He pretended to be 
much more passionate than he really 
was, and he succeeded in playing a 
part which looked very well in his 
own eyes. 

"I'm beginning to be rather fright- 
ened of you," said Miss Wilkinson. 

"You'll come out after supper, won't 
you?" he begged. 

"Not unless you promise to behave 
yourself," 

"I'll promise anything." 

He was catching fire from the flame 
he was partly simulating, and at tea- 
time he was obstreperously merry. 
Miss Wilkinson looked at him nerv- 
ously. 

"You mustn't have those shining 
eyes," she said to him afterwards. 
"What will your Aunt Louisa think?" 

"I don't care what she thinks." 

Miss Wilkinson gave a little laugh 
of pleasure. They had no sooner 
finished supper than he said to her: 

"Are you going to keep me com- 
pany while I smoke a cigarette?" 

"Why don't you let Miss Wilkinson 
rest?" said Mrs. Carey. "You must 
remember she's not as young as you." 



"Oh, I'd like to go out, Mrs. Carey," 
she said, rather acidly. 

"After dinner walk a mile, after 
supper rest a while," said the Vicar. 

"Your aunt is very nice, but she 
gets on my nerves sometimes," said 
Miss Wilkinson, as soon as they closed 
the side-door behind them. 

Philip threw away the cigarette he 
had just lighted, and flung his arms 
round her. She tried to push him 
away. 

"You promised you'd be good, 
Philip." 

"You didn't think I was going to 
keep a promise like that?" 

"Not so near the house, Philip," 
she said. "Supposing someone should 
come out suddenly?" 

He led her to the kitchen garden 
where no one was likely to come, and 
this time Miss Wilkinson did not think 
of earwigs. He kissed her passionately. 
It was one of the things that puzzled 
him that he did not like her at all in 
the morning, and only moderately in 
the afternoon, but at night the touch 
of her hand thrilled him. He said 
things that he would never have 
thought himself capable of saying; he 
could certainly never have said them 
in the broad light of day; and he 
listened to himself with wonder and 
satisfaction. 

"How beautifully you make love," 
she said. 

That was what he thought him- 
self. 

"Oh, if I could only say all the 
things that burn my heart!" he mur- 
mured passionately. 

It was splendid. It was the most 
thrilling game he had ever played; 
and the wonderful thing was that 
he felt almost all he said. It was only 
that he exaggerated a little. He was 
tremendously interested and excited 
in the effect he could see it had on 
her. It was obviously with an eff^ort 



io6 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



that at last she suggested going in. 

"Oh, don't go yet," he cried. 

"I must," she muttered. "I'm fright- 
ened." 

He had a sudden intuition what 
was the right thing to do then. 

"I can't go in yet. I shall stay here 
and think. My cheeks are burning. I 
want the night-air. Good-night." 

He held out his hand seriously, 
and she took it in silence. He thought 
she stifled a sob. Oh, it was magnifi- 
cent! When, after a decent interval 
during which he had been rather bored 
in the dark garden by himself, he 
went in he found that Miss Wilkin- 
son had already gone to bed. 

After that things were different be- 
tween them. The next day and the 
day after Philip showed himself an 
eager lover. He was deliciously flat- 
tered to discover that Miss Wilkinson 
was in love with him: she told him 
so in English, and she told him so in 
French. She paid him compliments. 
No one had ever informed him before 
that his eyes were charming and that 
he had a sensual mouth. He had 
never bothered much about his per- 
sonal appearance, but now, when oc- 
casion presented, he looked at himself 
in the glass with satisfaction. When 
he kissed her it was wonderful to feel 
the passion that seemed to thrill her 
soul. He kissed her a good deal, for he 
found it easier to do that than to say 
the things he instinctively felt she ex- 
pected of him. It still made him feel 
a fool to say he worshipped her. He 
wished there were someone to whom 
he could boast a little, and he would 
willingly have discussed minute points 
of his conduct. Sometimes she said 
things that were enigmatic, and he 
was puzzled. He wished Hayward 
had been there so that he could ask 
him what he thought she meant, and 
what he had better do next. He could 



not make up his mind whether he 
ought to rush things or let them take 
their time. There were only three 
weeks more. 

"I can't bear to think of that," she 
said. "It breaks my heart. And then 
perhaps we shall never see one an- 
other again." 

"If you cared for me at all, you 
wouldn't be so unkind to me," he 
whispered. 

"Oh, why can't you be content to 
let it go on as it isr* Men are always 
the same. They're never satisfied." 

And when he pressed her, she said: 

"But don't you see it's impossible. 
How can we here?" 

He proposed all sorts of schemes, 
but she would not have anything to 
do with them. 

"I daren't take the risk. It would be 
too dreadful if your aunt found out." 

A day or two later he had an idea 
which seemed brilliant. 

"Look here, if you had a headache 
on Sunday evening and offered to 
stay at home and look after the house, 
Aunt Louisa would go to church." 

Generally Mrs. Carey remained in 
on Sunday evening in order to allow 
Mary Ann to go to church, but she 
would welcome the opportunity of 
attending evensong. 

Philip had not found it necessary 
to impart to his relations the change 
in his views on Christianity which 
had occurred in Germany; they could 
not be expected to understand; and 
it seemed less trouble to go to church 
quietly. But he only went in the 
morning. He regarded this as a grace- 
ful concession to the prejudices of 
society and his refusal to go a second 
time as an adequate assertion of free 
thought. 

When he made the suggestion. Miss 
Wilkinson did not speak for a mo- 
ment, then shook her head. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



107 



"No, I won't," she said. 

But on Sunday at tea-time she sur- 
prised Phihp. 

"I don't think I'll come to church 
this evening," she said suddenly. "I've 
really got a dreadful headache." 

Mrs. Carey, much concerned, in- 
sisted on giving her some 'drops' which 
she was herself in the habit of using. 
Miss Wilkinson thanked her, and im- 
mediately after tea announced that she 
would go to her room and lie down. 

"Are you -sure there's nothing you'll 
want?" asked Mrs. Carey anxiously. 

"Quite sure, thank you." 

"Because, if there isn't, I think I'll 
go to church. I don't often have the 
chance of going in the evening." 

"Oh yes, do go." 

"I shall be in," said Philip. "If Miss 
Wilkinson wants anything, she can al- 
ways call me." 

"You'd better leave the drawing- 
room door open, Philip, so that if 
Miss Wilkinson rings, you'll hear." 

"Certainly," said Philip. 

So after six o'clock Philip was left 
alone in the house wath Miss Wilkin- 
son. He felt sick with apprehension. 
He wished with all his heart that he 
had not suggested the plan; but it 
was too late now; he must take the 
opportunity which he had made. 
What would Miss Wilkinson think of 
him if he did not! He went into the 
hall and listened. There was not a 
sound. He wondered if Miss Wilkin- 
son really had a headache. Perhaps 
she had forgotten his suggestion. His 
heart beat painfully. He crept up the 



stairs as softly as he could, and he 
stopped with a start when they 
creaked. He stood outside Miss Wil- 
kinson's room and listened; he put his 
hand on the knob of the door-handle. 
He waited. It seemed to him that he 
waited for at least five minutes, trying 
to make up his mind; and his hand 
trembled. He would willingly have 
bolted, but he was afraid of the re- 
morse which he knew would seize 
him. It was like getting on the high- 
est diving-board in a swimming-bath; 
it looked nothing from below, but 
when you got up there and stared 
down at the water your heart 
sank; and the only thing that forced 
you to dive was the shame of com- 
ing down meekly by the steps you 
had climbed up. Philip screwed up 
his courage. He turned the handle 
softly and walked in. He seemed to 
himself to be trembling like a leaf. 
Miss Wilkinson was standing at the 
dressing-table with her back to the 
door, and she turned round quickly 
when she heard it open. 

"Oh, it's you. What d'you want?" 
She had taken off her skirt and 
blouse, and was standing in her petti- 
coat. It was short and only came down 
to the top of her boots; the upper 
part of it was black, of some shiny 
material, and there was a red flounce. 
She wore a camisole of white calico 
with short arms. She looked grotesque. 
Philip's heart sank as he stared at her; 
she had never seemed so unattractive; 
but it was too late now. He closed 
the door behind him and locked it. 



XXXV 



Philip woke early next morning. 
His sleep had been restless; but when 



he stretched his legs and looked at the 
sunshine that slid through the Vene- 



io8 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



tian blinds, making patterns on the 
floor, he sighed with satisfaction. He 
was dehghted with himself. He began 
to think of Miss Wilkinson. She had 
asked him to call her Emily, but, he 
knew not why, he could not; he al- 
ways thought of her as Miss Wilkin- 
son. Since she chid him for so ad- 
dressing her, he avoided using her 
name at all. During his childhood he 
had often heard a sister of Aunt 
Louisa, the widow of a naval ofl&cer, 
spoken of as Aunt Emily. It made 
him uncomfortable to call Miss Wil- 
kinson by that name, nor could he 
think of any that would have suited 
her better. She had begun as Miss 
Wilkinson, and it seemed inseparable 
from his impression of her. He 
frowned a little: somehow or other 
he saw her now at her worst; he could 
not forget his dismay when she turned 
round and he saw her in her camisole 
and the short petticoat; he remem- 
bered the slight roughness of her skin 
and the sharp, long lines on the side 
of the neck. His triumph was short- 
lived. He reckoned out her age again, 
and he did not see how she could be 
less than forty. It made the affair 
ridiculous. She was plain and old. 
His quick fancy showed her to him, 
wrinkled, haggard, made-up, in those 
frocks which were too showy for her 
position and too young for her years. 
He shuddered; he felt suddenly that 
he never wanted to see her again; he 
could not bear the thought of kissing 
her. He was horrified with himself. 
Was that love? 

He took as long as he could over 
dressing in order to put back the mo- 
ment of seeing her, and when at last 
he went into the dining-room it was 
with a sinking heart. Prayers were over, 
and they were sitting down at break- 
fast. 

"Lazy bones," Miss Wilkinson cried 
gaily. 



He looked at her and gave a little 
gasp of relief. She was sitting with 
her back to the window. She was 
really quite nice. He wondered why 
he had thought such things about her. 
His self-satisfaction returned to him. 

He was taken aback by the change 
in her. She told him in a voice thrill- 
ing with emotion immediately after 
breakfast that she loved him; and 
when a little later they went into the 
drawing-room for his singing lesson 
and she sat down on the music-stool 
she put up her face in the middle of 
a scale and said: 

"Emhrasse-moV* 

When he bent down she flung her 
arms round his neck. It was slightly 
uncomfortable, for she held him in 
such a position that he felt rather 
choked. 

"Ah, je t'aime. ]e t'aime. ]e 
t'aime," she cried, with her extrava- 
gantly French accent. 

Philip wished she would speak 
English. 

"I say, I don't know if it's struck 
you that the gardener's quite likely 
to pass the window any minute." 

"Ah, je m'en fiche du jardinier, 
Je m'en refiche, et je m'en 
contrefiche." 

Philip thought it was very like a 
French novel, and he did not know 
why it slightly irritated him. 

At last he said: 

"Well, I think I'll tootle along to 
the beach and have a dip." 

"Oh, you're not going to leave me 
this morning— of all mornings?" 

Philip did not quite know why he 
should not, but it did not matter. 

"Would you like me to stay?" he 
smiled. 

"Oh, you darling! But no, go. Go. 
I want to think of you mastering the 
salt sea waves, bathing your limbs in 
the broad ocean." 

He got his hat and sauntered off. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



109 



"What rot women talk!" he thought 
to himself. 

But he was pleased and happy and 
flattered. She was evidently frightfully 
gone on him. As he limped along the 
high street of Blackstable he looked 
with a tinge of superciliousness at the 
people he passed. He knew a good 
many to nod to, and as he gave them 
a smile of recognition he thought to 
himself, if they only knew! He did 
want someone to know very badly. 
He thought he would write to Hay- 
ward, and in his mind composed the 
letter. He would talk of the garden 
and the roses, and the little French 
governess, like an exotic flower 
amongst them, scented and perverse: 
he would say she was French, be- 
cause—well, she had lived in France 
so long that she almost was, and be- 
sides it would be shabby to give the 
whole thing away too exactly, don't 
you know; and he would tell Hay- 
ward how he had seen her first in 
her pretty muslin dress and of the 
flower she had given him. He made a 
delicate idyl of it: the sunshine and 
the sea gave it passion and magic, and 
the stars added poetry, and the old 
vicarage garden was a fit and exquisite 
setting. There was something Mere- 
dithian about it: it was not quite Lucy 
Feverel and not quite Clara Middle- 
ton; but it was inexpressibly charm- 
ing. Philip's heart beat quickly. He 
was so delighted with his fancies that 
he began thinking of them again as 
soon as he crawled back, dripping and 
cold, into his bathing-machine. He 
thought of the object of his affections. 
She had the most adorable little nose 
and large brown eyes— he would de- 
scribe her to Hayward— and masses of 
soft brown hair, the sort of hair it 
was delicious to bury your face in, 
and a skin which was like ivory and 
sunshine, and her cheek was like a 
red, red rose. How old was she? 



Eighteen perhaps, and he called her 
Musette. Her laughter was like a 
rippling brook, and her voice was so 
soft, so low, it was the sweetest music 
he had ever heard. 

"What are you thinking about?" 

Philip stopped suddenly. He was 
walking slowly home. 

"I've been waving at you for the 
last quarter of a mile. You are absent- 
minded." 

Miss Wilkinson was standing in 
front of him, laughing at his surprise. 

"I thought I'd come and meet you." 

"That's awfully nice of you," he 
said. 

"Did I startle you?" 

"You did a bit," he admitted. 

He wrote his letter to Hayward all 
the same. There were eight pages of 
it. 

The fortnight that remained passed 
quickly, and though each evening, 
when they went into the garden after 
supper. Miss Wilkinson remarked that 
one day more had gone, Philip was in 
too cheerful spirits to let the thought 
depress him. One night Miss Wilkin- 
son suggested that it would be delight- 
ful if she could exchange her situation 
in Berlin for one in London. Then 
they could see one another constantly. 
Philip said it would be very jolly, 
but the prospect aroused no enthusi- 
asm in him; he was looking forward 
to a wonderful life in London, and 
he preferred not to be hampered. He 
spoke a little too freely of all he 
meant to do, and allowed Miss Wil- 
kinson to see that already he was long- 
ing to be off. 

"You wouldn't talk like that if you 
loved me," she cried. 

He was taken aback and remained 
silent. 

"What a fool I've been," she 
muttered. 

To his surprise he saw that she was 



no 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



crying. He had a tender heart, and 
hated to see anyone miserable. 

"Oh, Vm awfully sorry. What have 
I done? Don't cry." 

"Oh, Philip, don't leave me. You 
don't know what you mean to me. I 
have such a wretched hfe, and you've 
made me so happy." 

He kissed her silently. There really 
was anguish in her tone, and he was 
frightened. It had never occurred to 
him that she meant what she said 
quite, quite seriously. 

"I'm awfully sorry. You know I'm 
frightfully fond of you. I wish you 
would come to London." 

"You know I can't. Places are al- 
most impossible to get, and I hate 
English life." 

Almost unconscious that he was 
acting a part, moved by her distress, 
he pressed her more and more. Her 
tears vaguely flattered him, and he 
kissed her with real passion. 

But a day or two later she made a 
real scene. There was a tennis-party 
at the vicarage, and two girls came, 
daughters of a retired major in an 
Indian regiment who had lately 
settled in Blackstable. They were very 
pretty, one was Philip's age and the 
other was a year or two younger. Be- 
ing used to the society of young men 
(they were full of stories of hill- 
stations in India, and at that time the 
stories of Rudyard Kipling were in 
every hand) they began to chaff 
Philip gaily; and he, pleased with the 
novelty— the young ladies at Black- 
stable treated the Vicar's nephew with 
a certain seriousness— was gay and 
jolly. Some devil within him 
prompted him to start a violent flirta- 
tion with them both, and as he was 
the only young man there, they were 
quite willing to meet him half-way. 
It happened that they played tennis 
quite well and Philip was tired of 



pat-ball with Miss Wilkinson (she 
had only begun to play when she 
came to Blackstable), so when he 
arranged the sets after tea he suggested 
that Miss Wilkinson should play 
against the curate's wife, with the 
curate as her partner; and he would 
play later with the newcomers. He 
sat down by the elder Miss O'Connor 
and said to her in an undertone: 

"We'll get the duffers out of the 
way first, and then we'll have a jolly 
set afterwards." 

Apparently Miss Wilkinson over- 
heard him, for she threw down her 
racket, and, saying she had a head- 
ache, went away. It was plain to 
everyone that she was offended. Philip 
was annoyed that she should make 
the fact public. The set was arranged 
without her, but presently Mrs. Carey 
called him. 

"Philip, you've hurt Emily's feel- 
ings. She's gone to her room and she's 
crying." 

"What about?" 

"Oh, something about a duffer's set. 
Do go to her, and say you didn't 
mean to be unkind, there's a good 
boy." 

"All right." 

He knocked at Miss Wilkinson's 
door, but receiving no answer went 
in. He found her lying face down- 
wards on her bed, weeping. He 
touched her on the shoulder. 

"I say, what on earth's the matter?" 

"Leave me alone. I never want to 
speak to you again." 

"What have I done? I'm awfully 
sorry if I've hurt your feelings. I 
didn't mean to. I say, do get up." 

"Oh, I'm so unhappy. How could 
you be cruel to me? You know I hate 
that stupid game. I only play because 
I want to play with you." 

She got up and walked towards the 
dressing-table, but after a quick look 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



III 



in the glass sank into a chair. She 
made her handkerchief into a ball 
and dabbed her eyes with it. 

"I've given you the greatest thing 
a woman can give a man— oh, what a 
fool I was— and you have no gratitude. 
You must be quite heartless. How 
could you be so cruel as to torment 
me by flirting with those vulgar girls. 
We've only got just over a week. Can't 
you even give me that?" 

Philip stood over her rather sulkily. 
He thought her behaviour childish. 
He was vexed with her for having 
shown her ill-temper before strangers. 

"But you know I don't care two- 
pence about either of the O'Connors. 
Why on earth should you think I 

dor 

Miss Wilkinson put away her hand- 
kerchief. Her tears had made marks 
on her powdered face, and her hair 
was somewhat disarranged. Her white 
dress did not suit her very well just 
then. She looked at Philip with 
hungry, passionate eyes. 

"Because you're twenty and so's 
she," she said hoarsely. "And I'm old." 

Philip reddened and looked away. 
The anguish of her tone made him 
feel strangely uneasy. He wished with 
all his heart that he had never had 
anything to do with Miss Wilkinson. 

"I don't want to make you un- 
happy," he said awkwardly. "You'd 
better go down and look after your 
friends. They'll wonder what has be- 
come of you." 

"All right." 

He was glad to leave her. 

The quarrel was quickly followed 
by a reconciliation, but the few days 
that remained were sometimes irksome 
to Philip. He wanted to talk of noth- 
ing but the future, and the future in- 
variably reduced Miss Wilkinson to 
tears. At first her weeping aff^ected 
him, and feeling himself a beast he 



redoubled his protestations of undying 
passion; but now it irritated him: it 
would have been all very well if she 
had been a girl, but it was silly of a 
grown-up woman to cry so much. She 
never ceased reminding him that he 
was under a debt of gratitude to her 
which he could never repay. He was 
willing to acknowledge this since she 
made a point of it, but he did not 
really know why he should be any 
more grateful to her than she to him. 
He was expected to show his sense 
of obligation in ways which were 
rather a nuisance: he had been a 
good deal used to sohtude, and it was a 
necessity to him sometimes; but Miss 
Wilkinson looked upon it as an un- 
kindness if he was not always at her 
beck and call. The Miss O'Connors 
asked them both to tea, and Philip 
would have liked to go, but Miss 
Wilkinson said she only had five days 
more and wanted him entirely to her- 
self. It was flattering, but a bore. Miss 
Wilkinson told him stories of the ex- 
quisite delicacy of Frenchmen when 
they stood in the same relation to fair 
ladies as he to Miss Wilkinson. She 
praised their courtesy, their passion for 
self-sacrifice, their perfect tact. Miss 
Wilkinson seemed to want a great 
deal. 

Philip listened to her enumeration 
of the qualities which must be pos- 
sessed by the perfect lover, and he 
could not help feeling a certain satis- 
faction that she lived in Berlin. 

"You will write to me, won't you? 
Write to me every day. I want to 
know everything you're doing. You 
must keep nothing from me." 

"I shall be awfully busy," he an- 
swered. "I'll write as often as I can." 

She flung her arms passionately 
round his neck. He was embarrassed 
sometimes by the demonstrations of 
her affection. He would have pre- 



I 12 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



f erred her to be more passive. It 
shocked him a Httle that she should 
give him so marked a lead: it did not 
tally altogether with his prepossessions 
about the modesty of the feminine 
temperament. 

At length the day came on which 
Miss Wilkinson was to go, and she 
came down to breakfast, pale and sub- 
dued, in a serviceable travelling dress 
of black and white check. She looked 
a very competent governess. Philip 
was silent too, for he did not quite 
know what to say that would fit the 
circumstance; and he was terribly 
afraid that, if he said something 
flippant. Miss Wilkinson would break 
down before his uncle and make a 
scene. They had said their last good- 
bye to one another in the garden the 
night before, and Philip was relieved 
that there was now no opportunity for 
them to be alone. He remained in 
the dining-room after breakfast in case 
Miss Wilkinson should insist on kiss- 
ing him on the stairs. He did not 
want Mary Ann, now a woman hard 
upon middle age with a sharp tongue, 
to catch them in a compromising po- 
sition. Mary Ann did not like Miss 
Wilkinson and called her an old cat. 
Aunt Louisa was not very well and 
could not come to the station, but the 
Vicar and Philip saw her off. Just as 
the train was leaving she leaned out 
and kissed Mr. Carey. 

"I must kiss you too, Philip," she 
said. 

"All right," he said, blushing. 

He stood up on the step and she 
kissed him quickly. The train started, 
and Miss Wilkinson sank into the cor- 
ner of her carriage and wept discon- 
solately. Philip as he walked back to 
the vicarage felt a distinct sensation of 
relief. 

"Well, did you see her safely off?" 
asked Aunt Louisa, when they got 



m. 

"Yes, she seemed rather weepy. She 
insisted on kissing me and Philip." 

"Oh, well, at her age it's not dan- 
gerous." Mrs. Carey pointed to the 
sideboard. "There's a letter for you, 
Philip. It came by the second post." 

It was from Hayward and ran as 
follows : 

My dear hoy, 

I answer your letter at once. I 
ventured to read it to a great friend of 
mine, a charming woman whose help 
and sympathy have heen very pre- 
cious to me, a woman withal with a 
real feeling for art and literature; and 
we agreed that it was charming. You 
wrote from your heart and you do 
not know the delightful naivete which 
is in every line. And because you 
love you write like a poet. Ah, dear 
hoy, that is the real thing: 1 felt the 
glow of your young passion, and your 
prose was musical from the sincer- 
ity of your emotion. You must he 
happy! 1 wish 1 could have heen pres- 
ent unseen in that enchanted garden 
while you wandered hand in hand, 
like Daphnis and Chloe, amid the 
flowers. 1 can see you, my Daphnis, 
with the light of young love in your 
eyes, tender, enraptured, and ardent; 
while Chloe in your arms, so young 
and soft and fresh, vowing she would 
neer consent— consented. Roses and 
violets and honeysuckle! Oh, my 
friend, I envy you. It is so good to 
think that your first love should have 
heen pure poetry. Treasure the mo- 
ments, for the immortal gods have 
given you the Greatest Gift of All, 
and it will he a sweet, sad memory 
till your dying day. You will never 
again enjoy that careless rapture. First 
love is hest love; and she is beautiful 
and you are young, and all the world 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



"3 



is yours. I felt my pulse go faster when 
with your adorable simplicity you told 
m.e that you buried your face in her 
long hair. 1 am sure that it is that 
exquisite chestnut which seems just 
touched with gold. I would have you 
sit under a leafy tree side by side, 
and read together Romeo and Juliet; 
and then I would have you fall on 
your knees and on my behalf kiss the 
ground on which her foot has left its 
imprint; then tell her it is the homage 
of a poet to her radiant youth and to 



your love for her. 

Yours always, 
G. Etheridge Hayward. 

'What damned rot!" said Philip, 
when he finished the letter. 

Miss Wilkinson oddly enough had 
suggested that they should read 
Romeo and Juliet together; but Philip 
had firmly declined. Then, as he put 
the letter in his pocket, he felt a queer 
little pang of bitterness because reality 
seemed so different from the ideal. 



XXXVI 



A F E w days later Philip went to Lon- 
don. The curate had recommended 
rooms in Barnes, and these Philip en- 
gaged by letter at fourteen shillings a 
week. He reached them in the eve- 
ning; and the landlady, a funny little 
old woman with a shrivelled body and 
a deeply wrinkled face, had prepared 
high tea for him. Most of the sitting- 
room was taken up by the sideboard 
and a square table; against one wall 
was a sofa covered with horsehair, and 
by the fireplace an arm-chair to match: 
there was a white antimacassar over 
the back of it, and on the seat, be- 
cause the springs were broken, a hard 
cushion. 

After having his tea he unpacked 
and arranged his books, then he sat 
down and tried to read; but he was 
depressed. The silence in the street 
made him slightly uncomfortable, and 
he felt very much alone. 

Next day he got up early. He put 
on his tail-coat and the tall hat which 
he had worn at school; but it was 
very shabby, and he made up his 
mind to stop at the Stores on his way 
to the office and buy a new one. 



When he had done this he found 
himself in plenty of time and so 
walked along the Strand. The office of 
Messrs. Herbert Carter & Co. was in 
a little street off Chancery Lane, and 
he had to ask his way two or three 
times. He felt that people were staring 
at him a great deal, and once he took 
ojGF his hat to see whether by chance 
the label had been left on. When he 
arrived he knocked at the door; but 
no one answered, and looking at his 
watch he found it was barely half 
past nine; he supposed he was too 
early. He went away and ten min- 
utes later returned to find an office- 
boy, with a long nose, pimply face, 
and a Scotch accent, opening the door. 
Philip asked for Mr. Herbert Carter. 
He had not come yet. 
'When will he be here^' 
"Between ten and half past." 
*Td better wait," said Philip. 
'What are you wanting?" asked the 
office-boy. 

Philip was nervous, but tried to 
hide the fact by a jocose manner. 

"Well, Fm going to work here if 
you have no objection," 



114 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"Oh, you're the new articled clerk r' 
You'd better come in. Mr. Good- 
worthy'U be here in a while." 

Philip walked in, and as he did 
so saw the office-boy— he was about 
the same age as Philip and called 
himself a junior clerk— look at his 
foot. He flushed and, sitting down, 
hid it behind the other. He looked 
round the room. It was dark and very 
dingy. It was lit by a skylight. There 
were three rows of desks in it and 
against them high stools. Over the 
chimney-piece was a dirty engraving 
of a prize-fight. Presently a clerk came 
in and then another; they glanced at 
Philip and in an undertone asked the 
ofifice-boy (Philip found his name was 
Macdougal) who he was. A whistle 
blew, and Macdougal got up. 

"Mr. Goodworthy's come. He's the 
managing clerk. Shall I tell him 
you're here?" 

"Yes, please," said Philip. 

The office-boy went out and in a 
moment returned. 

"Will you come this way?" 

Philip followed him across the 
passage and was shown into a room, 
small and barely furnished, in which 
a little, thin man was standing with 
his back to the fireplace. He was 
much below the middle height, but 
his large head, which seemed to hang 
loosely on his body, gave him an odd 
ungainliness. His features were wide 
and flattened, and he had prominent, 
pale eyes; his thin hair was sandy; 
he wore whiskers that grew unevenly 
on his face, and in places where you 
would have expected the hair to grow 
thickly there was no hair at all. His 
skin was pasty and yellow. He held 
out his hand to Philip, and when he 
smiled showed badly decayed teeth. 
He spoke with a patronising and at 
the same time a timid air, as though 
he sought to assume an importance 
which he did not feel. He said he 



hoped Philip would like the work; 
there was a good deal of drudgery 
about it, but when you got used to it, 
it was interesting; and one made 
money, that was the chief thing, 
wasn't it? He laughed with his odd 
mixture of superiority and shyness. 

"Mr. Carter will be here presently," 
he said. "He's a little late on Monday 
mornings sometimes. I'll call you 
when he comes. In the meantime I 
must give you something to do. Do 
you know anything about book-keep- 
ing or accounts?" 

"I'm afraid not," answered Philip. 

"I didn't suppose you would. They 
don't teach you things at school that 
are much use in business, I'm afraid." 
He considered for a moment. "I think 
I can find you something to do." 

He went into the next room and 
after a little while came out with a 
large cardboard box. It contained a 
vast number of letters in great dis- 
order, and he told PhiHp to sort them 
out and arrange them alphabetically 
according to the names of the writers. 

"I'll take you to the room in which 
the articled clerk generally sits. 
There's a very nice fellow in it. His 
name is Watson. He's a son of Wat- 
son, Crag, and Thompson— you know 
—the brewers. He's spending a year 
with us to learn business." 

Mr. Goodworthy led Philip 
through the dingy office, where now 
six or eight clerks were working, into 
a narrow room behind. It had been 
made into a separate apartment by a 
glass partition, and here they found 
Watson sitting back in a chair, reading 
The Sportsman. He was a large, stout 
young man, elegantly dressed, and he 
looked up as Mr. Goodworthy en- 
tered. He asserted his position by call- 
ing the managing clerk Goodworthy. 
The managing clerk objected to the 
familiarity, and pointedly called him 
Mr. Watson, but Watson, instead of 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



115 



seeing that it was a rebuke, accepted 
the title as a tribute to his gentle- 
manhness. 

"I see they've scratched Rigoletto," 
he said to PhiHp, as soon as they were 
left alone. 

"Have they?" said Philip, who 
knew nothing about horse racing. 

He looked with awe upon Watson's 
beautiful clothes. His tail-coat fitted 
him perfectly, and there was a valu- 
able pin artfully stuck in the middle 
of an enormous tie. On the chimney- 
piece rested his tall hat; it was saucy 
and bell-shaped and shiny. Philip felt 
himself very shabby. Watson began to 
talk of hunting— it was such an in- 
fernal bore having to waste one's time 
in an infernal office, he would only 
be able to hunt on Saturdays— and 
shooting: he had ripping invitations 
all over the country and of course he 
had to refuse them. It was infernal 
luck, but he wasn't going to put up 
with it long; he was only in this in- 
fernal hole for a year, and then he 
was going into the business, and he 
would hunt four days a week and get 
all the shooting there was. 

"You've got five years of it, haven't 
you?" he said, waving his arm round 
the tiny room. 

"I suppose so," said Philip. 

"I daresay I shall see something of 
you. Carter does our accounts, you 
know." 

Philip was somewhat overpowered 
by the young gentleman's condescen- 
sion. At Blackstable they had always 
looked upon brewing with civil con- 
tempt, the Vicar made little jokes 
about the beerage, and it was a sur- 
prising experience for Philip to dis- 
cover that Watson was such an im- 
portant and magnificent fellow. He 
had been to Winchester and to Ox- 
ford, and his conversation impressed 
the fact upon one with frequency. 
When he discovered the details of 



Philip's education his manner became 
more patronising still. 

"Of course, if one doesn't go to a 
public school those sort of schools are 
the next best thing, aren't they?" 

Philip asked about the other men 
in the office. 

"Oh, I don't bother about them 
much, you know," said Watson. "Car- 
ter's not a bad sort. We have him to 
dine now and then. All the rest are 
awful bounders." 

Presently Watson applied himself 
to some work he had in hand, and 
Philip set about sorting his letters. 
Then Mr. Goodworthy came in to 
say that Mr. Carter had arrived. He 
took Philip into a large room next door 
to his own. There was a big desk in 
it, and a couple of big arm-chairs; a 
Turkey carpet adorned the floor, and 
the walls were decorated with sporting 
prints. Mr. Carter was sitting at the 
desk and got up to shake hands with 
Philip. He was dressed in a long frock 
coat. He looked like a military man; 
his moustache was waxed, his gray 
hair was short and neat, he held him- 
self upright, he talked in a breezy 
way, he lived at Enfield. He was very 
keen on games and the good of the 
country. He was an officer in the 
Hertfordshire Yeomanry and chairman 
of the Conservative Association. When 
he was told that a local magnate had 
said no one would take him for a 
City man, he felt that he had not 
lived in vain. He talked to Philip in a 
pleasant, off-hand fashion. Mr. Good- 
worthy would look after him. Watson 
was a nice fellow, perfect gentleman, 
good sportsman— did Philip hunt? 
Pity, the sport for gentlemen. Didn't 
have much chance of hunting now, 
had to leave that to his son. His son 
was at Cambridge, he'd sent him to 
Rugby, fine school Rugby, nice class 
of boys there, in a couple of years his 



ii6 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



son would be articled, that would be 
nice for Philip, he'd like his son, 
thorough sportsman. He hoped Philip 
would get on well and like the work, 
he mustn't miss his lectures, they 
were getting up the tone of the pro- 
fession, they wanted gentlemen in it. 
Well, well, Mr. Goodworthy was 
there. If he wanted to know anything 



Mr. Goodworthy would tell him. 
What was his handwriting liker" Ah 
well, Mr. Goodworthy would see 
about that. 

Philip was overwhelmed by so 
much gentlemanliness: in East Anglia 
they knew who were gentlemen and 
who weren't, but the gentlemen didn't 
talk about it. 



XXXVII 



At first the novelty of the work 
kept Philip interested. Mr. Carter 
dictated letters to him, and he had to 
make fair copies of statements of ac- 
counts. 

Mr. Carter preferred to conduct the 
office on gentlemanly lines; he would 
have nothing to do with typewriting 
and looked upon shorthand with dis- 
favour: the office-boy knew shorthand, 
but it was only Mr. Goodworthy who 
made use of his accomplishment. Now 
and then Philip with one of the more 
experienced clerks went out to audit 
the accounts of some firm: he came 
to know which of the clients must 
be treated with respect and which 
were in low water. Now and then 
long lists of figures were given him 
to add up. He attended lectures for 
his first examination. Mr. Goodworthy 
repeated to him that the work was 
dull at first, but he would grow used 
to it. Philip left the office at six and 
walked across the river to Waterloo. 
His supper was waiting for him when 
he reached his lodgings and he spent 
the evening reading. On Saturday 
afternoons he went to the National 
Gallery. Hayward had recommended 
to him a guide which had been com- 
piled out of Ruskin's works, and with 
this in hand he went industriously 
through room after room: he read 



carefully what the critic had said about 
a picture and then in a determined 
fashion set himself to see the same 
things in it. His Sundays were difficult 
to get through. He knew no one in 
London and spent them by himself. 
Mr. Nixon, the solicitor, asked him 
to spend a Sunday at Hampstead, and 
Philip passed a happy day with a set 
of exuberant strangers; he ate and 
drank a great deal, took a walk on the 
heath, and came away with a general 
invitation to come again whenever he 
liked; but he was morbidly afraid of 
being in the way, so waited for a 
formal invitation. Naturally enough it 
never came, for with numbers of 
friends of their own the Nixons did 
not think of the lonely, silent boy 
whose claim upon their hospitality 
was so small. So on Sundays he got up 
late and took a walk along the tow- 
path. At Barnes the river is muddy, 
dingy, and tidal; it has neither the 
graceful charm of the Thames above 
the locks nor the romance of the 
crowded stream below London Bridge. 
In the afternoon he walked about the 
common; and that is gray and dingy 
too; it is neither country nor town; 
the gorse is stunted; and all about is 
the litter of civilisation. He went to a 
play every Saturday night and stood 
cheerfully for an hour or more at the 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



117 



gallery-door. It was not worth while 
to go back to Barnes for the interval 
between the closing of the Museum 
and his meal in an A. B. C. shop, 
and the time hung heavily on his 
hands. He strolled up Bond Street or 
through the Burlington Arcade, and 
when he was tired went and sat down 
in the Park or in wet weather in the 
public library in St. Martin's Lane. 
He looked at the people walking about 
and envied them because they had 
friends; sometimes his envy turned to 
hatred because they were happy and 
he was miserable. He had never im- 
agined that it was possible to be so 
lonely in a great city. Sometimes when 
he was standing at the gallery-door the 
man next to him would attempt a 
conversation; but Philip had the 
country boy's suspicion of strangers 
and answered in such a way as to 
prevent any further acquaintance. 
After the play was over, obliged to 
keep to himself all he thought about 
it, he hurried across the bridge to Wa- 
terloo. When he got back to his 
rooms, in which for economy no fire 
had been lit, his heart sank. It was 
horribly cheerless. He began to loathe 
his lodgings and the long solitary eve- 
nings he spent in them. Sometimes he 
felt so lonely that he could not read, 
and then he sat looking into the fire 
hour after hour in bitter vvnretchedness. 
He had spent three months in Lx)n- 
don now, and except for that one Sun- 
day at Hampstead had never talked 
to anyone but his fellow-clerks. One 
evening Watson asked him to din- 
ner at a restaurant and they went to a 
music-hall together; but he felt shy 
and uncomfortable. Watson talked all 
the time of things he did not care 
about, and while he looked upon Wat- 
son as a Philistine he could not help 
admiring him. He was angry because 
Watson obviously set no store on his 
culture, and with his way of taking 



himself at the estimate at which he 
saw others held him he began to de- 
spise the acquirements which till then 
had seemed to him not unimportant. 
He felt for the first time the humilia- 
tion of poverty. His uncle sent him 
fourteen pounds a month and he had 
had to buy a good many clothes. His 
evening suit cost him five guineas. 
He had not dared tell Watson that it 
was bought in the Strand. Watson 
said there was only one tailor in Lon- 
don. 

"I suppose you don't dance," said 
Watson, one day, with a glance at 
Philip's club-foot. 

"No," said Philip. 

"Pity. I've been asked to bring some 
dancing men to a ball. I could have 
introduced you to some plly girls." 

Once or twice, hating the thought 
of going back to Barnes, Philip had 
remained in town, and late in the 
evening wandered through the West 
End till he found some house at 
which there was a party. He stood 
among the little group of shabby peo- 
ple, behind the footmen, watching 
the guests arrive, and he listened to 
the music that floated through the win- 
dow. Sometimes, notwithstanding the 
cold, a couple came on to the balcony 
and stood for a moment to get some 
fresh air; and Philip, imagining that 
they were in love with one another, 
turned away and limped along the 
street with a heavy heart. He would 
never be able to stand in that man's 
place. He felt that no woman could 
ever really look upon him without dis- 
taste for his deformity. 

That reminded him of Miss Wilkin- 
son. He thought of her without satis- 
faction. Before parting they had made 
an arrangement that she should write 
to Charing Cross Post Office till he 
was able to send her an address, and 
when he went there he found three 
letters from her. She wrote on blue 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



paper with violet ink, and she wrote 
in French. PhiHp wondered why she 
could not write in English like a sen- 
sible woman, and her passionate ex- 
pressions, because they reminded him 
of a French novel, left him cold. She 
upbraided him for not having written, 
and when he answered he excused 
himself by saying that he had been 
busy. He did not quite know how to 
start the letter. He could not bring 
himself to use dearest or darling, and 
he hated to address her as Emily, so 
finally he began with the word dear. 
It looked odd, standing by itself, and 
rather silly, but he made it do. It was 
the first love letter he had ever written, 
and he was conscious of its tameness; 
he felt that he should say all sorts of 
vehement things, how he thought of 
her every minute of the day and how 
he longed to kiss her beautiful hands 
and how he trembled at the thought 
of her red lips, but some inexplicable 
modesty prevented him; and instead 
he told her of his new rooms and his 
office. The answer came by return of 
post, angry, heart-broken, reproachful: 
how could he be so cold? Did he not 
know that she hung on his letters? She 
had given him all that a woman could 
give, and this was her reward. Was he 
tired of her already? Then, because 
he did not reply for several days. Miss 
Wilkinson bombarded him with let- 
ters. She could not bear his unkind- 
ness, she waited for the post, and it 
never brought her his letter, she cried 
herself to sleep night after night, she 
was looking so ill that everyone re- 
marked on it: if he did not love her 
why did he not say so? She added 
that she could not Hve without him, 
and the only thing was for her to 
commit suicide. She told him he was 
cold and selfish and ungrateful. It 
was all in French, and Philip knew 
that she wrote in that language to 
show off, but he was worried all the 



same. He did not want to make her 
unhappy. In a little while she wrote 
that she could not bear the separation 
any longer, she would arrange to 
come over to London for Christmas. 
Philip wrote back that he would like 
nothing better, only he had already 
an engagement to spend Christmas 
with friends in the country, and he 
did not see how he could break it. 
She answered that she did not wish to 
force herself on him, it was quite evi- 
dent that he did not wish to see her; 
she was deeply hurt, and she never 
thought he would repay with such 
cruelty all her kindness. Her letter was 
touching, and Philip thought he saw 
marks of her tears on the paper; he 
wrote an impulsive reply saying that 
he was dreadfully sorry and imploring 
her to come; but it was with relief that 
he received her answer in which she 
said that she found it would be im- 
possible for her to get away. Presently 
when her letters came his heart sank: 
he delayed opening them, for he knew 
what they would contain, angry re- 
proaches and pathetic appeals; they 
would make him feel a perfect beast, 
and yet he did not see with what he 
had to blame himself. He put off his 
answer from day to day, and then 
another letter would come, saying she 
was ill and lonely and miserable. 

"I wish to God I'd never had any- 
thing to do with her," he said. 

He admired Watson because he ar- 
ranged these things so easily. The 
young man had been engaged in an 
intrigue with a girl who played in 
touring companies, and his account 
of the affair filled Philip with en- 
vious amazement. But after a time 
Watson's young affections changed, 
and one day he described the rupture 
to Philip. 

"I thought it was no good making 
any bones about it so I just told her 
I'd had enough of her," he said. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



119 



"Didn't she make an awful scene?" 
asked Philip. 

"The usual thing, you know, but 
I told her it was no good trying on 
that sort of thing with me." 

"Did she cry?" 

"She began to, but I can't stand 
women when they cry, so I said she'd 
better hook it." 

Philip's sense of humour was grow- 
ing keener with advancing years. 

"And did she hook it?" he asked 
smiling. 

"Well, there wasn't anything else 
for her to do, was there?" 

Meanwhile the Christmas holidays 
approached. Mrs. Carey had been ill 
all through November, and the doc- 
tor suggested that she and the Vicar 
should go to Cornwall for a couple 
of weeks round Christmas so that she 
should get back her strength. The re- 
sult was that Philip had nowhere to 
go, and he spent Christmas Day in 
his lodgings. Under Hayward's influ- 
ence he had persuaded himself that 
the festivities that attend this season 
were vulgar and barbaric, and he made 
up his mind that he would take no 
notice of the day; but when it came, 
the jollity of all around affected him 
strangely. His landlady and her hus- 
band were spending the day with a 
married daughter, and to save trouble 
Philip announced that he would take 
his meals out. He went up to London 
towards mid-day and ate a slice of 
turkey and some Christmas pudding 
by himself at Gatti's, and since he 
had nothing to do afterwards went to 
Westminster Abbey for the afternoon 
service. The streets were almost 
empty, and the people who went along 
had a preoccupied look; they did not 
saunter but walked with some definite 



goal in view, and hardly anyone was 
alone. To Philip they all seemed 
happy. He felt himself more soHtary 
than he had ever done in his life. His 
intention had been to kill the day 
somehow in the streets and then dine 
at a restaurant, but he could not face 
again the sight of cheerful people, 
talking, laughing, and making merry; 
so he went back to Waterloo, and on 
his way through the Westminster 
Bridge Road bought some ham and 
a couple of mince pies and went back 
to Barnes. He ate his food in his 
lonely little room and spent the eve- 
ning with a book. His depression was 
almost intolerable. 

When he was back at the office it 
made him very sore to listen to Wat- 
son's account of the short holiday. 
They had had some jolly girls staying 
with them, and after dinner they had 
cleared out the drawing-room and had 
a dance. 

"I didn't get to bed till three and 
I don't know how I got there then. 
By George, I was squiffy." 

At last Philip asked desperately : 

"How does one get to know people 
in London?" 

Watson looked at him with surprise 
and with a slightly contemptuous 
amusement. 

"Oh, I don't know, one just knows 
them. If you go to dances you soon 
get to know as many people as you 
can do with." 

Philip hated Watson, and yet he 
would have given anything to change 
places with him. The old feeling that 
he had had at school came back to 
him, and he tried to throw himself 
into the other's skin, imagining what 
life would be if he were Watson. 



120 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



XXXVIII 



A T T H E end of the year there was a 
great deal to do. PhiHp went to var- 
ious places with a clerk named 
Thompson and spent the day monoto- 
nously calling out items of expendi- 
ture, which the other checked; and 
sometimes he was given long pages 
of figures to add up. He had never 
had a head for figures, and he could 
only do this slowly. Thompson grew 
irritated at his mistakes. His fellow- 
clerk was a long, lean man of forty, 
sallow, with black hair and a ragged 
moustache; he had hollow cheeks and 
deep lines on each side of his nose. 
He took a dislike to Philip because 
he was an articled clerk. Because he 
could put down three hundred guineas 
and keep himself for five years Philip 
had the chance of a career; while he, 
with his experience and abiHty, had 
no possibiHty of ever being more than 
a clerk at thirty-five shillings a week. 
He was a cross-grained man, oppressed 
by a large family, and he resented the 
superciliousness which he fancied he 
saw in Philip. He sneered at Philip 
because he was better educated than 
himself, and he mocked at Philip's 
pronunciation; he could not forgive 
him because he spoke without a cock- 
ney accent, and when he talked to 
him sarcastically exaggerated his 
aitches. At first his manner was merely 
gruff and repellent, but as he discov- 
ered that Philip had no gift for ac- 
countancy he took pleasure in humili- 
ating him; his attacks were gross and 
silly, but they wounded Philip, and 
in self-defence he assumed an attitude 
of superiority which he did not feel. 
"Had a bath this morning^" 
Thompson said when Philip came to 



the ofl&ce late, for his early punctuality 
had not lasted. 

"Yes, haven't you?" 

"No, I'm not a gentleman, I'm only 
a clerk. I have a bath on Saturday 
night." 

"I suppose that's why you're more 
than usually disagreeable on Monday." 

"Will you condescend to do a few 
siuns in simple addition todayr^ I'm 
afraid it's asking a great deal from a 
gentleman who knows Latin and 
Greek." 

"Your attempts at sarcasm are not 
very happy." 

But Philip could not conceal from 
himself that the other clerks, ill-paid 
and uncouth, were more useful than 
himself. Once or twice Mr. Good- 
worthy grew impatient with him. 

"You really ought to be able to do 
better than this by now," he said. 
"You're not even as smart as the office- 
boy." 

Philip listened sulkily. He did not 
like being blamed, and it humiliated 
him, when, having been given ac- 
counts to make fair copies of, Mr. 
Goodworthy was not satisfied and 
gave them to another clerk to do. At 
first the work had been tolerable from 
its novelty, but now it grew irksome; 
and when he discovered that he had 
no aptitude for it, he began to hate 
it. Often, when he should have been 
doing something that was given him, 
he wasted his time drawing little pic- 
tures on the office note-paper. He 
made sketches of Watson in every 
conceivable attitude, and Watson was 
impressed by his talent. It occurred 
to him to take the drawings home, and 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



121 



he came back next day with the 
praises of his family. 

"I wonder you didn't become a 
painter/* he said. "Only of course 
there's no money in it." 

It chanced that Mr. Carter two 
or three days later was dining with 
the Watsons, and the sketches were 
shown him. The following morning 
he sent for Philip. Philip saw him 
seldom and stood in some awe of him. 

"Look here, young fellow, I don't 
care what you do out of office-hours, 
but I've seen those sketches of yours 
and they're on office-paper, and Mr. 
Goodworthy tells me you're slack. You 
won't do any good as a chartered ac- 
countant unless you look alive. It's a 
fine profession, and we're getting a 
very good class of men in it, but it's a 
profession in which you have to . . ." 
he looked for the termination of his 
phrase, but could not find exactly what 
he wanted, so finished rather tamely, 
"in which you have to look alive." 

Perhaps Philip would have settled 
down but for the agreement that if 
he did not like the work he could 
leave after a year, and get back half 
the money paid for his articles. He felt 
that he was fit for something better 
than to add up accounts, and it was 
humiliating that he did so ill some- 
thing which seemed contemptible. 
The vulgar scenes with Thompson 
got on his nerves. In March Watson 
ended his year at the office and Philip, 
though he did not care for him, saw 
him go with regret. The fact that the 
other clerks disliked them equally, be- 
cause they belonged to a class a little 
higher than their own, was a bond of 
union. When Philip thought that he 
must spend over four years more with 
that dreary set of fellows his heart 
sank. He had expected wonderful 
things from London and it had given 
him nothing. He hated it now. He 
did not know a soul, and he had no 



idea how he was to get to know 
anyone. He was tired of going every- 
where by himself. He began to feel 
that he could not stand much more 
of such a life. He would lie in bed 
at night and think of the joy of never 
seeing again that dingy office or any 
of the men in it, and of getting away 
from those drab lodgings. 

A great disappointment befell him 
in the spring. Hayward had an- 
nounced his intention of coming to 
London for the season, and Philip 
had looked forward very much to see- 
ing him again. He had read so much 
lately and thought so much that his 
mind was full of ideas which he 
wanted to discuss, and he knew no- 
body who was willing to interest him- 
self in abstract things. He was quite 
excited at the thought of talking his 
fill with someone, and he was 
wretched when Hayward wrote to say 
that the spring was lovelier than ever 
he had known it in Italy, and he 
could not bear to tear himself away. 
He went on to ask why Philip did 
not come. What was the use of 
squandering the days of his youth in 
an office when the world was beauti- 
ful The letter proceeded. 

I wonder you can hear it. 1 think of 
Fleet Street and Lincoln's Inn now 
with a shudder of disgust. There are 
only two things in the world that 
make life worth living, love and art. 
1 cannot imagine you sitting in an 
office over a ledger, and do you wear a 
tall hat and an umhrella and a little 
hlack hag? My feeling is that one 
should look upon life as an adventure, 
one should hum with the hard, gem- 
like fiam,e, and one should take risks, 
one should expose oneself to danger. 
Why do you not go to Paris and study 
art? 1 always thought you had talent. 

The suggestion fell in with the pos- 
sibility that Philip for some time had 



122 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



been vaguely turning over in his mind. 
It startled him at first, but he could 
not help thinking of it, and in the 
constant rumination over it he found 
his only escape from the wretchedness 
of his present state. They all thought 
he had talent; at Heidelberg they had 
admired his water colours, Miss Wil- 
kinson had told him over and over 
again that they were charming; even 
strangers like the Watsons had been 
struck by his sketches. La Vie de 
Boheme had made a deep impression 
on him. He had brought it to London 
and when he was most depressed he 
had only to read a few pages to be 
transported into those charming attics 
where Rodolphe and the rest of them 
danced and loved and sang. He be- 
gan to think of Paris as before he 
had thought of London, but he had 
no fear of a second disillusion; he 
yearned for romance and beauty and 
love, and Paris seemed to offer them 
all. He had a passion for pictures, and 
why should he not be able to paint as 
well as anybody elser" He wrote to 
Miss Wilkinson and asked her how 
much she thought he could Hve on 
in Paris. She told him that he could 
manage easily on eighty pounds a year, 
and she enthusiastically approved of 
his project. She told him he was too 
good to be wasted in an office. Who 
would be a clerk when he might be a 
great artist, she asked dramatically, 
and she besought Philip to believe in 
himself: that was the great thing. But 
Philip had a cautious nature. It was 
all very well for Hayward to talk of 
taking risks, he had three hundred a 
year in gilt-edged securities; Philip's 
entire fortune amounted to no more 
than eighteen-hundred pounds. He 
hesitated. 

Then it chanced that one day Mr. 
Goodworthy asked him suddenly if he 
would Hke to go to Paris. The firm did 



the accounts for a hotel in the 
Faubourg St. Honor6, which was 
owned by an English company, and 
twice a year Mr. Goodworthy and a 
clerk went over. The clerk who gen- 
erally went happened to be ill, and a 
press of work prevented any of the 
others from getting away. Mr. Good- 
worthy thought of Philip because he 
could best be spared, and his articles 
gave him some claim upon a job 
which was one of the pleasures of the 
business. Philip was delighted. 

"You'll *ave to work all day," said 
Mr. Goodworthy, 'Tbut we get our eve- 
nings to ourselves, and Paris is Paris." 
He smiled in a knowing way. "They 
do us very well at the hotel, and 
they give us all our meals, so it don't 
cost one anything. That's the way I 
like going to Paris, at other people's 
expense." 

When they arrived at Calais and 
Philip saw the crowd of gesticulating 
porters his heart leaped. 

"This is the real thing," he said 
to himself. 

He was all eyes as the train sped 
through the country; he adored the 
sand dunes, their colour seemed to 
him more lovely than anything he 
had ever seen; and he was enchanted 
with the canals and the long fines of 
poplars. When they got out of the 
Gare du Nord, and trundled along the 
cobbled streets in a ramshackle, noisy 
cab, it seemed to him that he was 
breathing a new air so intoxicating 
that he could hardly restrain himself 
from shouting aloud. They were met 
at the door of the hotel by the man- 
ager, a stout, pleasant man, who spoke 
tolerable English; Mr. Goodworthy 
was an old friend and he greeted them 
efi^usively; they dined in his private 
room with his wife, and to Philip it 
seemed that he had never eaten any- 
thing so delicious as the heefsteak aux 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



pommes, nor drunk such nectar as the 
vin ordinaire, which were set before 
them. 

To Mr. Goodworthy, a respectable 
householder with excellent principles, 
the capital of France was a paradise 
of the joyously obscene. He asked the 
manager next morning what there was 
to be seen that was 'thick.' He thor- 
oughly enjoyed these visits of his to 
Paris; he said they kept you from 
growing rusty. In the evenings, after 
their work was over and they had 
dined, he took Philip to the Moulin 
Rouge and the Folies Berg^res. His 
little eyes twinkled and his face wore 
a sly, sensual smile as he sought out 
the pornographic. He went into all 
the haunts which were specially ar- 
ranged for the foreigner, and after- 
wards said that a nation could come 
to no good which permitted that sort 
of thing. He nudged Philip when at 
some revue a woman appeared with 
practically nothing on, and pointed 
out to him the most strapping of the 
courtesans who walked about the hall. 
It was a vulgar Paris that he showed 
Philip, but Philip saw it with eyes 
blinded with illusion. In the early 
morning he would rush out of the 
hotel and go to the Champs Elysees, 
and stand at the Place de la Con- 
corde. It was June, and Paris was 
silvery with the delicacy of the air. 
Philip felt his heart go out to the 
people. Here he thought at last was 
romance. 

They spent the inside of a week 
there, leaving on Sunday, and when 
Philip late at night reached his dingy 
rooms in Barnes his mind was made 
up; he would surrender his articles, 
and go to Paris to study art; but so 
that no one should think him unrea- 
sonable he determined to stay at the 
office till his year was up. He was to 
have his holiday during the last fort- 



123 

night in August, and when he went 
away he would tell Herbert Carter 
that he had no intention of returning. 
But though Philip could force him- 
self to go to the office every day he 
could not even pretend to show any 
interest in the work. His mind was 
occupied with the future. After the 
middle of July there was nothing 
much to do and he escaped a good 
deal by pretending he had to go to 
lectures for his first examination. The 
time he got in this way he spent in 
the National Gallery. He read books 
about Paris and books about painting. 
He was steeped in Ruskin. He read 
many of Vasari's lives of the painters. 
He liked that story of Correggio, and 
he fancied himself standing before 
some great masterpiece and crying: 
Anch' io son pittore. His hesitation 
had left him now, and he was con- 
vinced that he had in him the makings 
of a great painter. 

"After all, I can only try," he said 
to himself. "The great thing in fife is 
to take risks." 

At last came the middle of August. 
Mr. Carter was spending the month 
in Scotland, and the managing clerk 
was in charge of the office. Mr. Good- 
worthy had seemed pleasantly dis- 
posed to Philip since their trip to Paris, 
and now that Philip knew he v^as so 
soon to be free, he could look upon 
the funny little man with tolerance. 

"You're going for your holiday to- 
morrow, Carey?" he said to him in 
the evening. 

All day Philip had been telling 
himself that this was the last time 
he would ever sit in that hateful office. 

"Yes, this is the end of my year." 

"I'm afraid you've not done very 
well. Mr. Carter's very dissatisfied with 

n 

you. 

"Not nearly so dissatisfied as I am 



124 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



with Mr. Carter," returned Philip 
cheerfully. 

"I don't think you should speak like 
that, Carey." 

"I'm not coming back. I made the 
arrangement that if I didn't like ac- 
countancy Mr. Carter would return 
me half the money I paid for my 
articles and I could chuck it at the 
end of a year." 

"You shouldn't come to such a de- 
cision hastily." 

"For ten months I've loathed it all, 
I've loathed the work, I've loathed the 
office, I loathe London. I'd rather 
sweep a crossing than spend my days 
here." 



"Well, I must say, I don't think 
you're very fitted for accountancy." 

"Good-bye," said Philip, holding 
out his hand. "I want to thank you 
for your kindness to me. I'm sorry if 
I've been troublesome. I knew almost 
from the beginning I was no good." 

"Well, if you really do make up 
your mind it is good-bye. I don't know 
what you're going to do, but if you're 
in the neighbourhood at any time 
come in and see us." 

Philip gave a little laugh. 

"I'm afraid it sounds very rude, but 
I hope from the bottom of my heart 
that I shall never set eyes on any of 
you again." 



XXXIX 



The Vicar of Blackstable would have 
nothing to do with the scheme which 
Philip laid before him. He had a great 
idea that one should stick to whatever 
one had begun. Like all weak men he 
laid an exaggerated stress on not 
changing one's mind. 

"You chose to be an accountant of 
your own free will," he said. 

"I just took that because it was the 
only chance I saw of getting up to 
town. I hate London, I hate the work, 
and nothing will induce me to go 
back to it." 

Mr. and Mrs. Carey were frankly 
shocked at Philip's idea of being an 
artist. He should not forget, they said, 
that his father and mother were gen- 
tlefolk, and painting wasn't a serious 
profession; it was Bohemian, disrep- 
utable, immoral. And then Paris! 

"So long as I have anything to say in 
the matter, I shall not allow you to 
live in Paris," said the Vicar firmly. 

It was a sink of iniquity. The 



scarlet woman and she of Babylon 
flaunted their vileness there; the cities 
of the plain were not more wicked. 

"You've been brought up like a gen- 
tleman and Christian, and I should 
be false to the trust laid upon me by 
your dead father and mother if I al- 
lowed you to expose yourself to such 
temptation." 

"Well, I know I'm not a Christian 
and I'm beginning to doubt whether 
I'm a gentleman," said Philip. 

The dispute grew more violent. 
There was another year before Philip 
took possession of his small inherit- 
ance, and during that time Mr. Carey 
proposed only to give him an allow- 
ance if he remained at the office. It 
was clear to Philip that if he meant 
not to continue with accountancy he 
must leave it while he could still get 
back half the money that he had been 
paid for his articles. The Vicar would 
not listen. Philip, losing all reserve, 
said things to wound and irritate. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



125 



'TouVe got no right to waste my 
money," he said at last. "After all it's 
my money, isn't it? I'm not a child. 
You can't prevent me from going to 
Paris if I make up my mind to. You 
can't force me to go back to London." 

"All I can do is to refuse you 
money unless you do what I think 
fit." 

"Well, I don't care, I've made up 
my mind to go to Paris. I shall sell 
my clothes, and my books, and my 
father's jewellery." 

Aunt Louisa sat by in silence, anx- 
ious and unhappy: she saw that 
Philip was beside himself, and any- 
thing she said then would but increase 
his anger. Finally the Vicar announced 
that he wished to hear nothing more 
about it and with dignity left the 
room. For the next three days neither 
Philip nor he spoke to one another. 
Philip wrote to Hayward for informa- 
tion about Paris, and made up his 
mind to set out as soon as he got a 
reply. Mrs. Carey turned the matter 
over in her mind incessantly; she felt 
that Philip included her in the hatred 
he bore her husband, and the thought 
tortured her. She loved him with all 
her heart. At length she spoke to him; 
she listened attentively while he 
poured out all his disillusionment of 
London and his eager ambition for 
the future. 

"I may be no good, but at least let 
me have a try. I can't be a worse fail- 
ure than I was in that beastly office. 
And I feel that I can paint. I know 
I've got it in me." 

She was not so sure as her husband 
that they did right in thwarting so 
strong an inclination. She had read 
of great painters whose parents had 
opposed their wish to study, the 
event had shown with what folly; and 
after all it was just as possible for a 
painter to lead a virtuous life to the 



glory of God as for a chartered ac- 
countant. 

"I'm so afraid of your going to 
Paris," she said piteously. "It wouldn't 
be so bad if you studied in London." 

"If I'm going in for painting I must 
do it thoroughly, and it's only in Paris 
that you can get the real thing." 

At his suggestion Mrs. Carey wrote 
to the solicitor, saying that Philip was 
discontented with his work in London, 
and asking what he thought of a 
change. Mr. Nixon answered as fol- 
lows: 

Dear Mrs. Carey, 

1 have seen Mr. Herbert Carter, and 
1 am afraid 1 must tell you that Philip 
has not done so well as one could 
have wished. If he is very strongly set 
against the work, perhaps it is hetter 
that he should take the opportunity 
there is now to break his articles. 1 
am naturally very disappointed, hut 
as you know you can take a horse to 
the water, hut you can't m^ake him 
drink. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Albert Nixon. 

The letter was shown to the Vicar, 
but served only to increase his obsti- 
nacy. He was willing enough that 
Philip should take up some other pro- 
fession, he suggested his father's call- 
ing, medicine, but nothing would 
induce him to pay an allowance if 
Philip went to Paris. 

"It's a mere excuse for self-indul- 
gence and sensuality," he said. 

"I'm interested to hear you blame 
self-indulgence in others," retorted 
Philip acidly. 

But by this time an answer had 
come from Hayward, giving the name 
of a hotel where Philip could get a 
room for thirty francs a month and 
enclosing a note of introduction to 
the massiere of a school. Philip read 



26 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



the letter to Mrs. Carey and told her 
he proposed to start on the first of 
September. 

"But you haven't got any money?" 
she said. 

"I'm going into Tercanbury this 
afternoon to sell the jewellery." 

He had inherited from his father 
a gold watch and chain, two or three 
rings, some links, and two pins. One 
of them was a pearl and might fetch 
a considerable sum. 

"It's a very different thing, what a 
thing's worth and what it'll fetch," 
said Aunt Louisa. 

Philip smiled, for this was one of 
his uncle's stock phrases. 

"I know, but at the worst I think 
I can get a hundred pounds on the lot, 
and that'll keep me till I'm twenty- 
one." 

Mrs. Carey did not answer, but she 
went upstairs, put on her little black 
bonnet, and went to the bank. In an 
hour she came back. She went to 
Philip, who was reading in the draw- 
ing-room, and handed him an enve- 
lope. 

"What's this?" he asked. 

"It's a little present for you," she an- 
swered, smiling shyly. 

He opened it and found eleven five- 
pound notes and a Httle paper sack 
bulging with sovereigns. 

"I couldn't bear to let you sell your 
father's jewellery. It's the money I 
had in the bank. It comes to very 
nearly a hundred pounds." 

Philip blushed, and, he knew not 
why, tears suddenly filled his eyes. 

"Oh, my dear, I can't take it," he 
said. "It's most awfully good of you, 
but I couldn't bear to take it." 

When Mrs. Carey was married she 
had three hundred pounds, and this 
money, carefully watched, had been 
used by her to meet any unforeseen 
expense, any urgent charity, or to buy 



Christmas and birthday presents for 
her husband and for Philip. In the 
course of years it had diminished 
sadly, but it was still with the Vicar 
a subject for jesting. He talked of his 
wife as a rich woman and he con- 
stantly spoke of the 'nest egg.' 

"Oh, please take it, Philip. I'm so 
sorry I've been extravagant, and there's 
only that left. But it'll make me so 
happy if you'll accept it." 

"But you'll want it," said Philip. 

"No, I don't think I shall. I was 
keeping it in case your uncle died 
before me. I thought it would be 
useful to have a little something I 
could get at immediately if I wanted 
it, but I don't think I shall live very 
much longer now." 

"Oh, my dear, don't say that. Why, 
of course you're going to live for ever. 
I can't possibly spare you." 

"Oh, I'm not sorry." Her voice broke 
and she hid her eyes, but in a mo- 
ment, drying them, she smiled bravely. 

"At first, I used to pray to God 
that He might not take me first, be- 
cause I didn't want your uncle to be 
left alone, I didn't want him to have 
all the suffering, but now I know that 
it wouldn't mean so much to your 
uncle as it would mean to me. He 
wants to live more than I do, I've 
never been the wife he wanted, and 
I daresay he'd marry again if any- 
thing happened to me. So I should 
like to go first. You don't think it's 
selfish of me, Philip, do you? But I 
couldn't bear it if he went." 

Philip kissed her wrinkled, thin 
cheek. He did not know why the 
sight he had of that overwhelming 
love made him feel strangely ashamed. 
It was incomprehensible that she 
should care so much for a man who 
was so indifferent, so selfish, so grossly 
self-indulgent; and he divined dimly 
that in her heart she knew his in- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



127 



difference and his selfishness, knew 
them and loved him humbly all the 
same. 

"You will take the money, Philip?" 
she said, gently stroking his hand. "I 
know you can do without it, but it'll 
give me so much happiness. I've al- 
ways wanted to do something for you. 
You see, I never had a child of my 
own, and I've loved you as if you 
were my son. When you were a little 
boy, though I knew it was wicked, I 
used to wish almost that you might be 



ill, so that I could nurse you day and 
night. But you were only ill once and 
then it was at school. I should so like 
to help you. It's the only chance I 
shall ever have. And perhaps some 
day when you're a great artist you 
won't forget me, but you'll remember 
that I gave you your start." 

"It's very good of you," said Philip. 
"I'm very grateful." 

A smile came into her tired eyes, a 
smile of pure happiness. 

"Oh, I'm so glad." 



XL 



A F E w days later Mrs. Carey went to 
the station to see Philip off. She stood 
at the door of the carriage, trying to 
keep back her tears. Philip was rest- 
less and eager. He wanted to be gone. 

"Kiss me once more," she said. 

He leaned out of the window and 
kissed her. The train started, and she 
stood on the wooden platform of the 
little station, waving her handkerchief 
till it was out of sight. Her heart was 
dreadfully heavy, and the few hun- 
dred yards to the vicarage seemed very, 
very long. It was natural enough that 
he should be eager to go, she thought, 
he was a boy and the future beckoned 
to him; but she— she clenched her 
teeth so that she should not cry. She 
uttered a little inward prayer that God 
would guard him, and keep him out 
of temptation, and give him happi- 
ness and good fortune. 

But Philip ceased to think of her a 
moment after he had settled down in 
his carriage. He thought only of the 
future. He had written to Mrs. Otter, 
the massiere to whom Hayward had 
given him an introduction, and had in 
his pocket an invitation to tea on the 



following day. When he arrived in 
Paris he had his luggage put on a cab 
and trundled off slowly through the 
gay streets, over the bridge, and along 
the narrow ways of the Latin Quarter. 
He had taken a room at the Hotel 
des Deux Ecoles, which was in a 
shabby street off the Boulevard du 
Montparnasse; it was convenient for 
Amitrano's School at which he was 
going to work. A waiter took his box 
up five flights of stairs, and Philip 
was shown into a tiny room, fusty 
from unopened windows, the greater 
part of which was taken up by a large 
wooden bed with a canopy over it of 
red rep; there were heavy curtains on 
the windows of the same dingy ma- 
terial; the chest of drawers served also 
as a washing-stand; and there was a 
massive wardrobe of the style which 
is connected with the good King Louis 
Philippe. The wall-paper was dis- 
coloured with age; it was dark gray, 
and there could be vaguely seen on it 
garlands of brown leaves. To Philip 
the room seemed quaint and charming. 
Though it was late he felt too ex- 
cited to sleep and, going out, made 



128 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



his way into the boulevard and walked 
towards the light. This led him to the 
station; and the square in front of it, 
vivid with arc-lamps, noisy with the 
yellow trams that seemed to cross it in 
all directions, made him laugh aloud 
with joy. There were caf^s all round, 
and by chance, thirsty and eager to 
get a nearer sight of the crowd, Philip 
installed himself at a little table out- 
side the Cafe de Versailles. Every 
other table was taken, for it was a fine 
night; and PhiHp looked curiously at 
the people, here little family groups, 
there a knot of men with odd-shaped 
hats and beards talking loudly and 
gesticulating; next to him were two 
men who looked Hke painters with 
women who Philip hoped were not 
their lawful vdves; behind him he 
heard Americans loudly arguing on 
art. His soul was thrilled. He sat till 
very late, tired out but too happy to 
move, and when at last he went to 
bed he was wide awake; he listened 
to the manifold noise of Paris. 

Next day about tea-time he made 
his way to the Lion de Belfort, and 
in a new street that led out of the 
Boulevard Raspail found Mrs. Otter. 
She was an insignificant woman of 
thirty, with a provincial air and a 
deliberately lady-like manner; she in- 
troduced him to her mother. He dis- 
covered presently that she had been 
studying in Paris for three years and 
later that she was separated from her 
husband. She had in her small draw- 
ing-room one or two portraits which 
she had painted, and to Philip's inex- 
perience they seemed extremely ac- 
complished. 

"I wonder if I shall ever be able to 
paint as well as that," he said to her. 

"Oh, I expect so," she replied, not 
without self-satisfaction. "You can't ex- 
pect to do everything all at once, of 
course." 

She was very kind. She gave him 



the address of a shop where he could 
get a portfolio, drawing-paper, and 
charcoal. 

"I shall be going to Amitrano's about 
nine tomorrow, and if you'll be there 
then I'll see that you get a good place 
and all that sort of thing." 

She asked him what he wanted to 
do, and Philip felt that he should not 
let her see how vague he was about 
the whole matter. 

"Well, first I want to learn to 
draw," he said. 

"I'm so glad to hear you say that. 
People always want to do things in 
such a hurry. I never touched oils 
till I'd been here for two years, and 
look at the result." 

She gave a glance at the portrait 
of her mother, a sticky piece of paint- 
ing that hung over the piano. 

"And if I were you, I would be 
very careful about the people you get 
to know. I wouldn't mix myself up 
with any foreigners. I'm very careful 
myself." 

Philip thanked her for the sugges- 
tion, but it seemed to him odd. He 
did not know that he particularly 
wanted to be careful. 

"We live just as we would if we 
were in England," said Mrs. Otter's 
mother, who till then had spoken 
little. "When we came here we brought 
all our own furniture over." 

Philip looked round the room. It 
was filled with a massive suite, and at 
the window were the same sort of 
white lace curtains which Aunt Louisa 
put up at the vicarage in summer. 
The piano was draped in Liberty silk 
and so was the chimney-piece. Mrs. 
Otter followed his wandering eye. 

"In the evening when we close the 
shutters one might really feel one was 
in England." 

"And we have our meals just as if 
we were at home," added her mother. 
"A meat breakfast in the morning and 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



129 



dinner in the middle of the day." 

When he left Mrs. Otter Philip 
went to buy drawing materials; and 
next morning at the stroke of nine, 
trying to seem self-assured, he pre- 
sented himself at the school. Mrs. Otter 
was already there, and she came for- 
ward with a friendly smile. He had 
been anxious about the reception he 
would have as a nouveau, for he had 
read a good deal of the rough joking 
to which a newcomer was exposed at 
some of the studios; but Mrs. Otter 
had reassured him. 

"Oh, there's nothing Hke that here," 
she said. "You see, about half our 
students are ladies, and they set a 
tone to the place." 

The studio was large and bare, with 
gray walls, on which were pinned the 
studies that had received prizes. A 
model was sitting in a chair vidth a 
loose wrap thrown over her, and about 
a dozen men and women were stand- 
ing about, some talking and others 
still working on their sketch. It was 
the first rest of the model. 

"You'd better not try anything too 
difficult at first," said Mrs. Otter. "Put 
your easel here. You'll find that's 
the easiest pose." 

Philip placed an easel where she 
indicated, and Mrs. Otter introduced 
him to a young woman who sat next 
to him. 

"Mr. Carey— Miss Price. Mr. Carey's 
never studied before, you won't mind 
helping him a little just at first, will 
you?" Then she turned to the model. 
"La Pose." 

The model threw aside the paper 
she had been reading. La Petite Re- 
puhlique, and sulkily, throwing off 
her gown, got on to the stand. She 
stood, squarely on both feet, with her 
hands clasped behind her head. 

"It's a stupid pose," said Miss Price. 
"I can't imagine why they chose it." 

When Philip entered, the people 



in the studio had looked at him curi- 
ously, and the model gave him an in- 
different glance, but now they ceased 
to pay attention to him. Philip, with 
his beautiful sheet of paper in front 
of him, stared awkwardly at the model. 
He did not know how to begin. He 
had never seen a naked woman be- 
fore. She was not young and her 
breasts were shrivelled. She had col- 
ourless, fair hair that fell over her 
forehead untidily, and her face was 
covered with large freckles. He 
glanced at Miss Price's work. She 
had only been working on it two days, 
and it looked as though she had had 
trouble; her paper was in a mess from 
constant rubbing out, and to Philip's 
eyes the figure looked strangely dis- 
torted. 

"I should have thought I could 
do as well as that," he said to himself. 

He began on the head, thinking 
that he would work slowly down- 
wards, but, he could not understand 
why, he found it infinitely more dif- 
ficult to draw a head from the model 
than to draw one from his imagination. 
He got into difficulties. He glanced 
at Miss Price. She was working with 
vehement gravity. Her brow was 
wrinkled with eagerness, and there 
was an anxious look in her eyes. It 
was hot in the studio, and drops of 
sweat stood on her forehead. She was 
a girl of twenty-six, with a great deal 
of dull gold hair; it was handsome 
hair, but it was carelessly done, dragged 
back from her forehead and tied in a 
hurried knot. She had a large face, 
with broad, flat features and small 
eyes; her skin was pasty, with a singu- 
lar unhealthiness of tone, and there 
was no colour in the cheeks. She had 
an unwashed air and you could not 
help wondering if she slept in her 
clothes. She was serious and silent. 
When the next pause came, she 
stepped back to look at her work. 



13° 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"I don't know why I'm having so 
much bother," she said. "But I mean 
to get it right." She turned to Phihp. 
"How are you getting on?" 

"Not at all," he answered, with a 
rueful smile. 

She looked at what he had done. 

"You can't expect to do anything 
that way. You must take measure- 
ments. And you must square out your 
paper." 

She showed him rapidly how to set 
about the business. Philip was im- 
pressed by her earnestness, but re- 
pelled by her want of charm. He was 
grateful for the hints she gave him 
and set to work again. Meanwhile 
other people had come in, mostly 
men, for the women always arrived 
first, and the studio for the time of 
year (it was early yet) was fairly full. 
Presently there came in a young man 
with thin, black hair, an enormous 
nose, and a face so long that it re- 
minded you of a horse. He sat down 
next to Philip and nodded across him 
to Miss Price. 

"You're very late," she said. "Are 
you only just up?" 

"It was such a splendid day, I 
thought I'd lie in bed and think how 
beautiful it was out." 

Philip smiled, but Miss Price took 
the remark seriously. 

"That seems a funny thing to do, I 
should have thought it would be more 
to the point to get up and enjoy it." 

"The way of the humorist is very 
hard," said the young man gravely. 

He did not seem inclined to work. 
He looked at his canvas; he was work- 
ing in colour, and had sketched in the 
day before the model who was posing. 
He turned to Philip. 

"Have you just come out from Eng- 
land?" 

"Yes." 

"How did you find your way to 
Amitrano's?" 



"It was the only school I knew of." 

"I hope you haven't come with the 
idea that you will learn anything 
here which will be of the smallest 
use to you." 

"It's the best school in Paris," said 
Miss Price. "It's the only one where 
they take art seriously." 

"Should art be taken seriously?" the 
young man asked; and since Miss 
Price replied only with a scornful 
shrug, he added: "But the point is, 
all schools are bad. They are academi- 
cal, obviously. Why this is less in- 
jurious than most is that the teaching 
is more incompetent than elsewhere. 
Because you learn nothing. . . ." 

"But why d'you come here then?" 
interrupted Philip. 

"I see the better course, but do not 
follow it. Miss Price, who is cultured, 
will remember the Latin of that." 

"I wish you would leave me out of 
your conversation, Mr. Glutton," said 
Miss Price brusquely. 

"The only way to learn to paint," 
he went on, imperturbable, "is to take 
a studio, hire a model, and just fight 
it out for yourself." 

"That seems a simple thing to do," 
said Philip. 

"It only needs money," replied 
Glutton. 

He began to paint, and Philip 
looked at him from the corner of his 
eye. He was long and desperately 
thin; his huge bones seemed to pro- 
trude from his body; his elbows were 
so sharp that they appeared to jut out 
through the arms of his shabby coat. 
His trousers were frayed at the bot- 
tom, and on each of his boots was a 
clumsy patch. Miss Price got up and 
went over to Philip's easel. 

"If Mr. Glutton will hold his tongue 
for a moment, I'll just help you a 
little," she said. 

"Miss Price dislikes me because I 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



131 



have humour," said Glutton, looking 
meditatively at his canvas, "but she 
detests me because I have genius." 

He spoke with solemnity, and his 
colossal, misshapen nose made what 
he said very quaint, Philip was obliged 
to laugh, but Miss Price grew darkly 
red with anger. 

"You're the only person who has 
ever accused you of genius." 

"Also I am the only person whose 
opinion is of the least value to me." 

Miss Price began to criticise what 
Philip had done. She talked glibly of 
anatomy and construction, planes and 
lines, and of much else which Philip 
did not understand. She had been at 
the studio a long time and knew the 
main points which the masters in- 
sisted upon, but though she could 
show what was wrong with Phihp's 
work she could not tell him how to 
put it right. 

"It's awfully kind of you to take so 
much trouble with me," said Philip. 

"Oh, it's nothing," she answered, 
flushing awkwardly. "People did the 
same for me when I first came, I'd 
do it for anyone." 

"Miss Price wants to indicate that 
she is giving you the advantage of her 
knowledge from a sense of duty rather 
than on account of any charms of 
your person," said Glutton. 

Miss Price gave him a furious look, 
and went back to her own drawing. 
The clock struck twelve, and the 
model with a cry of relief stepped 
down from the stand. 

Miss Price gathered up her things. 

"Some of us go to Gravier's for 
lunch," she said to Philip, with a 
look at Glutton. "I always go home 
myself." 

"I'll take you to Gravier's if you 
like," said Glutton. 

Philip thanked him and made ready 
to go. On his way out Mrs. Otter 
asked him how he had been getting 



on. 



"Did Fanny Price help youi^" she 
asked. "I put you there because I 
know she can do it if she likes. She's 
a disagreeable, ill-natured girl, and 
she can't draw herself at all, but she 
knows the ropes, and she can be use- 
ful to a newcomer if she cares to take 
the trouble." 

On the way down the street Glut- 
ton said to him : 

"You've made an impression on 
Fanny Price. You'd better look out." 

Philip laughed. He had never seen 
anyone on whom he wished less to 
make an impression. They came to the 
cheap little restaurant at which several 
of the students ate, and Glutton sat 
down at a table at which three or four 
men were already seated. For a franc, 
they got an egg, a plate of meat, cheese; 
and a small bottle of wine. Goffee was 
extra. They sat on the pavement, and 
yellow trams passed up and dov\m the 
boulevard with a ceaseless ringing of 
bells. 

"By the way, what's your name?" 
said Glutton, as they took their seats. 

"Garey." 

"Allow me to introduce an old and 
trusted friend, Garey by name," said 
Glutton gravely. "Mr. Flanagan, Mr. 
Lawson." 

They laughed and went on with 
their conversation. They talked of a 
thousand things, and they all talked 
at once. No one paid the smallest 
attention to anyone else. They talked 
of the places they had been to in the 
summer, of studios, of the various 
schools; they mentioned names which 
were unfamiliar to Philip, Monet, 
Manet, Renoir, Pizarro, Degas. Philip 
listened with all his ears, and though 
he felt a little out of it, his heart 
leaped with exultation. The time flew. 
When Glutton got up he said : 

"I expect you'll find me here this 



132 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



evening if you care to come. You'll ting dyspepsia at the lowest cost in the 
find this about the best place for get- Quarter." 



XLI 



Philip walked down the Boulevard 
du Montparnasse. It was not at all 
like the Paris he had seen in the 
spring during his visit to do the ac- 
counts of the Hotel St. Georges— he 
thought already of that part of his 
life with a shudder— but reminded 
him of what he thought a provincial 
town must be. There was an easy- 
going air about it, and a sunny spa- 
ciousness which invited the mind to 
day-dreaming. The trimness of the 
trees, the vivid whiteness of the houses, 
the breadth, were very agreeable; and 
he felt himself already thoroughly at 
home. He sauntered along, staring at 
the people; there seemed an elegance 
about the most ordinary, workmen 
with their broad red sashes and their 
wide trousers, little soldiers in dingy, 
charming uniforms. He came presently 
to the Avenue de TObservatoire, and 
he gave a sigh of pleasure at the 
magnificent, yet so graceful, vista. He 
came to the gardens of the Luxem- 
bourg; children were playing, nurses 
with long ribbons walked slowly two 
by two, busy men passed through 
with satchels under their arms, youths 
strangely dressed. The scene was 
formal and dainty; nature was ar- 
ranged and ordered, but so exquisitely, 
that nature unordered and unarranged 
seemed barbaric. Philip was en- 
chanted. It excited him to stand on 
that spot of which he had read so 
much; it was classic ground to him; 
and he felt the awe and the delight 
which some old don might feel Vv^hen 
for the first time he looked on the 



smiling plain of Sparta. 

As he wandered he chanced to see 
Miss Price sitting by herself on a 
bench. He hesitated, for he did not 
at that moment want to see anyone, 
and her uncouth way seemed out of 
place amid the happiness he felt 
around him; but he had divined her 
sensitiveness to affront, and since she 
had seen him thought it would be 
polite to speak to her. 

"What are you doing here?" she 
said, as he came up. 

"Enjoying myself. Aren't you?" 

"Oh, I come here every day from 
four to five. I don't think one does 
any good if one works straight 
through." 

"May I sit down for a minute?" he 
said. 

"If you want to." 

"That doesn't sound very cordial," 
he laughed. 

"I'm not much of a one for saying 
pretty things." 

Philip, a little disconcerted, was 
silent as he lit a cigarette. 

"Did Glutton say anything about 
my work?" she asked suddenly. 

"No, I don't think he did," said 
Philip. 

"He's no good, you know. He thinks 
he's a genius, but he isn't. He's too 
lazy, for one thing. Genius is an in- 
finite capacity for taking pains. The 
only thing is to peg away. If one 
only makes up one's mind badly 
enough to do a thing one can't help 
doing it." 

She spoke with a passionate stren- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



133 



uousness which was rather striking. 
She wore a sailor hat of black straw, 
a white blouse which was not quite 
clean, and a brown skirt. She had no 
gloves on, and her hands wanted wash- 
ing. She was so unattractive that 
Philip wished he had not begun to 
talk to her. He could not make out 
whether she wanted him to stay or go. 

"Fll do anything I can for you," 
she said all at once, without reference 
to, anything that had gone before. "I 
know how hard it is." 

"Thank you very much," said 
Philip, then in a moment: "Won't 
you come and have tea with me some- 
where/' 

She looked at him quickly and 
flushed. When she reddened her pasty 
skin acquired a curiously mottled look, 
like strawberries and cream that had 
gone bad. 

"No, thanks. What dyou think I 
want tea for? I've only just had lunch." 

"I thought it would pass the time," 
said Philip. 

"If you find it long you needn't 
bother about me, you know. I don't 
mind being left alone." 

At that moment two men passed, 
in brown velveteens, enormous trou- 
sers, and basque caps. They were 
young, but both wore beards. 

"I say, are those art-students?" said 
PhiHp. "They might have stepped out 
of the Vie de Boheme" 

"They're Americans," said Miss 
Price scornfully. "Frenchmen haven't 
worn things like that for thirty years, 
but the Americans from the Far West 
buy those clothes and have them- 
selves photographed the day after they 
arrive in Paris. That's about as near 
to art as they ever get. But it doesn't 
matter to them, they've all got money." 

Philip liked the daring picturesque- 
ness of the Americans' costume; he 
thought it showed the romantic spirit. 



Miss Price asked him the time. 

"I must be getting along to the 
studio," she said. "Are you going to 
the sketch classes?" 

Philip did not know anything about 
them, and she told him that from 
five to six every evening a model sat, 
from whom anyone who liked could 
go and draw at the cost of fifty cen- 
times. They had a different model 
every day, and it was very good prac- 
tice. 

"I don't suppose you're good enough 
yet for that. You'd better wait a bit." 

"I don't see why I shouldn't try. 
I haven't got anything else to do." 

They got up and walked to the 
studio. Phihp could not tell from her 
manner whether Miss Price wished 
him to walk with her or preferred 
to walk alone. He remained from sheer 
embarrassment, not knowing how to 
leave her; but she would not talk; 
she answered his questions in an un- 
gracious manner. 

A man was standing at the studio 
door with a large dish into which each 
person as he went in dropped his 
half franc. The studio was much fuller 
than it had been in the morning, and 
there was not the preponderance of 
English and Americans; nor were 
women there in so large a proportion. 
Philip felt the assemblage was more 
the sort of thing he had expected. It 
was very warm, and the air quickly 
grew fetid. It was an old man who sat 
this time, with a vast gray beard, and 
Philip tried to put into practice the 
little he had learned in the morning; 
but he made a poor 30b of it; he reahsed 
that he could not draw nearly as well 
as he thought. He glanced enviously 
at one or two sketches of men who 
sat near him, and wondered whether 
he would ever be able to use the char- 
coal with that mastery. The hour 
passed quickly. Not wishing to press 



134 



M R . MA UGHAM HIMSELF 



himself upon Miss Price he sat down 
at some distance from her, and at 
the end, as he passed her on his way 
out, she asked him brusquely how he 
had got on. 

"Not very well," he smiled. 

"If you'd condescended to come 
and sit near me I could have given 
you some hints. I suppose you thought 
yourself too grand." 

"No, it wasn't that. I was afraid 
you'd think me a nuisance." 

"When I do that I'll tell you sharp 
enough." 

Philip saw that in her uncouth 
way she was offering him help. 

"Well, tomorrow I'll just force my- 
self upon you." 

"I don't mind," she answered. 

Philip went out and wondered what 
he should do with himself till dinner. 
He was eager to do something char- 
acteristic. Ahsinthel Of course it was 
indicated, and so, sauntering towards 
the station, he seated himself outside 
a caf6 and ordered it. He drank with 
nausea and satisfaction. He found 
the taste disgusting, but the moral 
effect magnificent; he felt every inch 
an art-student; and since he drank on 
an empty stomach his spirits presently 
grew very high. He watched the 
crowds, and felt all men were his 
brothers. He was happy. When he 
reached Gravier's the table at which 
Glutton sat was full, but as soon as 
he saw Philip limping along he called 
out to him. They made room. The 
dinner was frugal, a plate of soup, a 
dish of meat, fruit, cheese, and half a 
bottle of wine; but Philip paid no 
attention to what he ate. He took 
note of the men at the table. Flanagan 
was there again: he was an American, 
a short, snub-nosed youth with a jolly 
face and a laughing mouth. He wore 
a Norfolk jacket of bold pattern, a 
blue stock round his neck, and a 



tweed cap of fantastic shape. At that 
time impressionism reigned in the 
Latin Quarter, but its victory over the 
older schools was still recent; and 
Garolus-Duran, Bouguereau, and their 
like were set up against Manet, Monet, 
and Degas. To appreciate these was 
still a sign of grace. Whistler was an 
influence strong with the English and 
his compatriots, and the discerning 
collected Japanese prints. The old 
masters were tested by new standards. 
The esteem in which Raphael had 
been for centuries held was a matter 
of derision to wise young men. They 
offered to give all his works for 
Velasquez' head of Philip IV in the 
National Gallery. PhiHp found that 
a discussion on art was raging. Law- 
son, whom he had met at luncheon, 
sat opposite to him. He was a thin 
youth with a freckled face and red 
hair. He had very bright green eyes. 
As Philip sat down he fixed them 
on him and remarked suddenly : 

"Raphael was only tolerable when 
he painted other people's pictures. 
When he painted Peruginos or Pin- 
turichios he was charming; when he 
painted Raphaels he was," with a 
scornful shrug, "Raphael." 

Lawson spoke so aggressively that 
Phihp was taken aback, but he was 
not obhged to answer because Flana- 
gan broke in impatiently. 

"Oh, to hell with art!" he cried. 
"Let's get ginny." 

"You were ginny last night, Flana- 
gan," said Lawson. 

"Nothing to what I mean to be 
tonight," he answered. "Fancy being 
in Pa-ris and thinking of nothing but 
art all the time." He spoke with a 
broad Western accent. "My, it is good 
to be alive." He gathered himself to- 
gether and then banged his fist on 
the table. "To hell with art, I say." 

"You not only say it, but you say 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



135 



it with tiresome iteration," said Glut- 
ton severely. 

There was another American at the 
table. He was dressed like those fine 
fellows whom Phihp had seen that 
afternoon in the Luxembourg. He had 
a handsome face, thin, ascetic, with 
dark eyes; he wore his fantastic garb 
with the dashing air of a buccaneer. 
He had a vast quantity of dark hair 
which fell constantly over his eyes, 
and his most frequent gesture was to 
throw back his head dramatically to 
get some long wdsp out of the way. 
He began to talk of the Olympia 
by Manet, which then hung in the 
Luxembourg. 

"I stood in front of it for an hour 
today, and I tell you it's not a good 
picture." 
■ Lawson put down his knife and 

fork. His green eyes flashed fire, he 
gasped with rage; but he could be 
seen imposing calm upon himself. 

"It's very interesting to hear the 
mind of the untutored savage," he said. 
"Will you tell us why it isn't a 
good picture?" 

Before the American could answer 
someone else broke in vehemently. 

"D'you mean to say you can look 
at the painting of that flesh and say 
it's not good?" 

"I don't say that. I think the right 
breast is very well painted." 

"The right breast be damned," 
shouted Lawson. "The whole thing's 
a miracle of painting." 

He began to describe in detail the 
beauties of the picture, but at this 
table at Gravier's they who spoke at 
length spoke for their own edification. 
No one listened to him. The Ameri- 
can interrupted angrily. 

"You don't mean to say you think 
the head's good?" 

Lawson, white with passion now, 
began to defend the head; but Glut- 



con, who had been sitting in silence 
with a look on his face of good- 
humoured scorn, broke in. 

"Give him the head. We don't want 
the head. It doesn't affect the picture." 

"All right, I'll give you the head," 
cried Lawson. "Take the head and be 
damned to you." 

"What about the black line?" cried 
the American, triumphantly pushing 
back a wisp of hair which nearly fell 
in his soup. "You don't see a black 
line round objects in nature." 

"Oh, God, send down fire from 
heaven to consume the blasphemer," 
said Lawson. "What has nature got 
to do with it? No one knows what's 
in nature and what isn't! The world 
sees nature through the eyes of the 
artist. Why, for centuries it saw horses 
jumping a fence with all their legs 
extended, and by Heaven, sir, they 
were extended. It saw shadows black 
until Monet discovered they were 
coloured, and by Heaven, sir, they 
were black. If we choose to surround 
objects with a black line, the world 
will see the black Hne, and there will 
be a black hne; and if we paint grass 
red and cows blue, it'll see them red 
and blue, and, by Heaven, they will 
be red and blue." 

"To hell with art," murmured Flan- 
agan. "I want to get ginny." 

Lawson took no notice of the in- 
terruption. 

"Now look here, when Olympia 
was showm at the Salon, Zola— 
amid the jeers of the Phihstines and 
the hisses of the pompiers, the acad- 
emicians, and the public, Zola said: 
'I look forward to the day when 
Manet's picture will hang in the 
Louvre opposite the Odalisque of 
Ingres, and it will not be the Odalisque 
which will gain by comparison.' It'll 
be there. Every day I see the time 



136 

grow nearer. In ten years the Olympia 
will be in the Louvre." 

"Never," shouted the American, us- 
ing both hands now with a sudden 
desperate attempt to get his hair once 
for all out of the way. "In ten years 
that picture will be dead. It's only a 
fashion of the moment. No picture 
can live that hasn't got something 
which that picture misses by a million 
miles." 

"And what is that?" 

"Great art can't exist without a 
moral element." 

"Oh God!" cried Lawson furiously. 
"I knew it was that. He wants moral- 
ity." He joined his hands and held 
them towards heaven in supplication. 
"Oh, Christopher Columbus, Christo- 
pher Columbus, what did you do 
when you discovered America?" 

"Ruskin says . . ." 

But before he could add another 
word. Glutton rapped with the handle 
of his knife imperiously on the table. 

"Gentlemen," he said in a stem 
voice, and his huge nose positively 
wrinkled with passion, "a name has 
been mentioned which I never thought 
to hear again in decent society. Free- 
dom of speech is all very well, but 
we must observe the hmits of common 
propriety. You may talk of Bougue- 
reau if you will: there is a cheerful 
disgustingness in the sound which ex- 
cites laughter; but let us not sully 
our chaste lips with the names of J. 
Ruskin, G. F. Watts, or E. B. Jones." 

"Who was Ruskin anyway?" asked 
Flanagan. 

"He was one of the great Victorians. 
He was a master of English style." 

"Ruskin's style— a thing of shreds 
and purple patches," said Lawson. 
"Besides, damn the Great Victorians. 
Whenever I open a paper and see 
Death of a Great Victorian, I thank 
Heaven there's one more of them 
gone. Their only talent was longevity. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



and no artist should be allowed to live 
after he's forty; by then a man has 
done his best work, all he does after 
that is repetition. Don't you think it 
was the greatest luck in the world 
for them that Keats, Shelley, Bon- 
nington, and Byron died early? What 
a genius we should think Swinburne 
if he had perished on the day the 
first series of Poems and Ballads was 
published!" 

The suggestion pleased, for no one 
at the table was more than twenty- 
four, and they threw themselves upon 
it with gusto. They were unanimous 
for once. They elaborated. Someone 
proposed a vast bonfire made out of 
the works of the Forty Academicians 
into which the Great Victorians might 
be hurled on their fortieth birthday. 
The idea was received with acclama- 
tion. Carlyle and Ruskin, Tennyson, 
Brovming, G. F. Watts, E. B. Jones, 
Dickens, Thackeray, they were hur- 
ried into the flames; Mr. Gladstone, 
John Bright, and Cobden; there was a 
moment's discussion about George 
Meredith, but Matthew Arnold and 
Emerson were given up cheerfully. 
At last came Walter Pater. 

"Not Walter Pater," murmured 
Phihp. 

Lawson stared at him for a moment 
with his green eyes and then nodded. 

"You're quite right, Walter Pater is 
the only justification for Monna Lisa. 
D'you know Cronshaw? He used to 
know Pater." 

"Who's Cronshaw?" asked Philip. 

"Cronshaw's a poet. He lives here. 
Let's go to the Lilas." 

La Closerie des Lilas was a cafe to 
which they often went in the evening 
after dinner, and here Cronshaw was 
invariably to be found between the 
hours of nine at night and two in the 
morning. But Flanagan had had 
enough of intellectual conversation 
for one evening, and when Lawson 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



37 



made his suggestion, turned to Philip. 

"Oh gee, let's go where there are 

girls," he said. "Come to the Gaite 



Montpamasse, and we'll get ginny." 
"Fd rather go and see Cronshaw and 
keep sober," laughed Philip. 



XLII 



There was a general disturbance. 
Flanagan and two or three more went 
on to the music-hall, while Philip 
walked slowly with Glutton and Law- 
son to the Gloserie des Lilas. 

"You must go to the Gaite Mont- 
pamasse," said Lawson to him. "It's 
one of the loveliest things in Paris. 
I'm going to paint it one of these 
days." 

Philip, influenced by Hayward, 
looked upon music-halls with scorn- 
ful eyes, but he had reached Paris 
at a time when their artistic pos- 
sibilities were just discovered. The 
peculiarities of lighting, the masses 
of dingy red and tarnished gold, the 
heaviness of the shadows and the 
decorative lines, offered a new theme; 
and half the studios in the Quarter 
contained sketches made in one or 
other of the local theatres. Men of 
letters, following in the painters* wake, 
conspired suddenly to find artistic 
value in the turns; in red-nosed come- 
dians were lauded to the skies for 
their sense of character; fat female 
singers, who had bawled obscurely for 
twenty years, were discovered to possess 
inimitable drollery; there were those 
who found an aesthetic delight in 
performing dogs; while others ex- 
hausted their vocabulary to extol the 
distinction of conjurers and trick- 
cyclists. The crowd too, under an- 
other influence, was become an object 
of sympathetic interest. With Hay- 
ward, Philip had disdained humanity 
in the mass; he adopted the attitude 
of one who wraps himself in solitari- 



ness and watches with disgust the 
antics of the vulgar; but Glutton and 
Lawson talked of the multitude with 
enthusiasm. They described the seeth- 
ing throng that filled the various fairs 
of Paris, the sea of faces, half seen 
in the glare of acetylene^ half hidden 
in the darkness, and the blare of trum- 
pets, the hooting of whistles, the hum 
of voices. What they said was new 
and strange to Philip. They told him 
about Gronshaw. 

"Have you ever read any of his 
work?" 

"No," said Philip. 

"It came out in The Yellow Book" 

They looked upon him, as painters 
often do vmters, with contempt be- 
cause he was a layman, with tolerance 
because he practised an art, and with 
awe because he used a medium in 
which themselves felt ill-at-ease. 

"He's an extraordinary fellow. 
You'll find him a bit disappointing 
at first, he only comes out at his best 
when he's drunk." 

"And the nuisance is," added Glut- 
ton, "that it takes him a devil of a 
time to get drunk." 

When they arrived at the cafe Law- 
son told Philip that they would have 
to go in. There was hardly a bite in 
the autumn air, but Gronshaw had 
a morbid fear of draughts and even 
in the warmest weather sat inside. 

"He knows everyone worth know- 
ing," Lawson explained. "He knew 
Pater and Oscar Wilde, and he knows 
Mallarme and all those fellows." 

The object of their search sat in 



138 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



the most sheltered comer of the cafe, 
with his coat on and the collar turned 
up. He wore his hat pressed well 
down on his forehead so that he 
should avoid cold air. He was a big 
man, stout but not obese, with a round 
face, a small moustache, and little, 
rather stupid eyes. His head did not 
seem quite big enough for his body. 
It looked like a pea uneasily poised 
on an egg. He was playing dominoes 
with a Frenchman, and greeted the 
newcomers with a quiet smile; he 
did not speak, but as if to make room 
for them pushed away the little pile 
of saucers on the table which in- 
dicated the number of drinks he had 
already consumed. He nodded to 
Philip when he was introduced to 
him, and went on with the game. 
Philip's knowledge of the language was 
small, but he knew enough to tell that 
Cronshaw, although he had lived in 
Paris for several years, spoke French ex- 
ecrably. 

At last he leaned back with a smile 
of triumph. 

"]e vous ai hattu," he said, with an 
abominable accent. "Gargongl" 

He called the waiter and turned 
to Philip. 

"Just out from England? See any 
cricket?" 

Philip was a little confused at the 
unexpected question. 

"Cronshaw knows the averages of 
every first-class cricketer for the last 
twenty years," said Lawson, smiling. 

The Frenchman left them for 
friends at another table, and Cron- 
shaw, with the lazy enunciation 
which was one of his peculiarities, 
began to discourse on the relative mer- 
its of Kent and Lancashire. He told 
them of the last test match he had 
seen and described the course of the 
game wicket by wicket. 

"That's the only thing I miss in 
Paris," he said, as he finished the 



hock which the waiter had brought. 
"You don't get any cricket," 

Philip was disappointed, and Law- 
son, pardonably anxious to show off 
one of the celebrities of the Quarter, 
grew impatient. Cronshaw was taking 
his time to wake up that evening, 
though the saucers at his side in- 
dicated that he had at least made an 
honest attempt to get drunk. Clutton 
watched the scene with amusement. 
He fancied there was something of 
affectation in Cronshaw's minute 
knowledge of cricket; he liked to 
tantalise people by talking to them of 
things that obviously bored them; Clut- 
ton threw in a question. 

"Have you seen Mallarme lately?" 

Cronshaw looked at him slowly, as 
if he were turning the inquiry over 
in his mind, and before he answered 
rapped on the marble table with one 
of the saucers. 

"Bring my bottle of whiskey," he 
called out. He turned again to Philip. 
"I keep my own bottle of whiskey. I 
can't aflFord to pay fifty centimes for 
every thimbleful." 

The waiter brought the bottle, and 
Cronshaw held it up to the light. 

"They've been drinking it. Waiter, 
who's been helping himself to my 
whiskey?" 

"Mais personne, Monsieur Cron- 
shaw." 

"I made a mark on it last night, 
and look at it." 

"Monsieur made a mark, but he 
kept on drinking after that. At that 
rate Monsieur wastes his time in mak- 
ing marks." 

The waiter was a jovial fellow and 
knew Cronshaw intimately. Cronshaw 
gazed at him. 

"If you give me your word of 
honour as a nobleman and a gentle- 
man that nobody but I has been drink- 
ing my whiskey, I'll accept your state- 
ment." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



139 



This remark, translated literally into 
the crudest French, sounded very 
funny, and the lady at the comptoir 
could not help laughing. 

"II est impayahle," she murmured. 

Cronshaw, hearing her, turned a 
sheepish eye upon her; she was stout, 
matronly, and middle-aged; and sol- 
emnly kissed his hand to her. She 
shrugged her shoulders. 

"Fear not, madam," he said heavily. 
"I have passed the age vi^hen I am 
tempted by forty-five and gratitude." 

He poured himself out some whis- 
key and water, and slowly drank it. 
He wiped his mouth with the back of 
his hand. 

"He talked very well." 

Lawson and Glutton knew that 
Cronshaw's remark was an answer to 
the question about Mallarm^. Cron- 
shaw often went to the gatherings on 
Tuesday evenings when the poet re- 
ceived men of letters and painters, and 
discoursed with subtle oratory on any 
subject that was suggested to him. 
Cronshaw had evidently been there 
lately. 

"He talked very well, but he talked 
nonsense. He talked about art as 
though it were the most important 
thing in the world." 

"If it isn't, what are we here for?" 
asked Philip. 

"What you're here for I don't know. 
It is no business of mine. But art is a 
luxury. Men attach importance only 
to self-preservation and the propaga- 
tion of their species. It is only when 
these instincts are satisfied that they 
consent to occupy themselves with the 
entertainment which is provided for 
them by writers, painters, and poets." 

Cronshaw stopped for a moment to 
drink. He had pondered for twenty 
years the problem whether he loved 
liquor because it made him talk or 
whether he loved conversation because 
it made him thirsty. 



Then he said: "I wrote a poem 
yesterday." 

Without being asked he began to 
recite it, very slowly, marking the 
rhythm with an extended forefinger. 
It was possibly a very fine poem, but 
at that moment a young woman came 
in. She had scarlet lips, and it was 
plain that the vivid colour of her 
cheeks was not due to the vulgarity 
of nature; she had blackened her eye- 
lashes and eyebrows, and painted both 
eyelids a bold blue, which was con- 
tinued to a triangle at the comer of 
the eyes. It was fantastic and amusing. 
Her dark hair was done over her ears 
in the fashion made popular by Mile. 
Cleo de Merode. Philip's eyes wan- 
dered to her, and Cronshaw, having 
finished the recitation of his verses, 
smiled upon him indulgently. 

"You were not listening," he said. 

"Oh yes, I was." 

"I do not blame you, for you have 
given an apt illustration of the 
statement I just made. What is art be- 
side love? I respect and applaud your 
indifference to fine poetry when you 
contemplate the meretricious charms 
of this young person." 

She passed by the table at which 
they were sitting, and he took her arm. 

"Come and sit by my side, dear 
child, and let us play the divine 
comedy of love." 

"Fichez-moi la paix," she said, and 
pushing him on one side continued 
her perambulation. 

"Art," he continued, with a wave 
of the hand, "is merely the refuge 
which the ingenious have invented, 
when they were supplied with food 
and women, to escape the tediousness 
of Hfe." 

Cronshaw filled his glass again, and 
began to talk at length. He spoke with 
rotund delivery. He chose his words 
carefully. He mingled wisdom and 
nonsense in the most astounding man- 



[40 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



ner, gravely making fun of his hearers 
at one moment, and at the next play- 
fully giving them sound advice. He 
talked of art, and literature, and life. 
He was by turns devout and obscene, 
merry and lachrymose. He grew re- 
markably drunk, and then he began 
to recite poetry, his own and Milton's, 
his own and Shelley's, his own and 
Kit Marlowe's. 

At last Lawson, exhausted, got up 
to go home. 

"I shall go too," said Philip. 

Glutton, the most silent of them all, 
remained behind listening, with a 
sardonic smile on his lips, to Cron- 
shaw's maunderings. Lawson accom- 
panied Philip to his hotel and then 
bade him good-night. But when 



Philip got to bed he could not sleep. 
All these new ideas that had been 
flung before him carelessly seethed in 
his brain. He was tremendously ex- 
cited. He felt in himself great powers. 
He had never before been so self- 
confident. 

"I know I shall be a great artist," 
he said to himself. "I feel it in me." 

A thrill passed through him as an- 
other thought came, but even to him- 
self he would not put it into words: 

"By George, I believe I've got gen- 

» 

lUS. 

He was in fact very drunk, but as 
he had not taken more than one glass 
of beer, it could have been due only 
to a more dangerous intoxicant than 
alcohol. 



XLIII 



OnTuesdays and Fridays masters 
spent the morning at Amitrano's, criti- 
cising the work done. In France the 
painter earns little unless he paints 
portraits and is patronised by rich 
Americans; and men of reputation are 
glad to increase their incomes by 
spending two or three hours once a 
week at one of the numerous studios 
where art is taught. Tuesday was the 
day upon which Michel Rollin came 
to Amitrano's. He was an elderly man, 
with a white beard and a florid com- 
plexion, who had painted a number of 
decorations for the State, but these 
were an object of derision to the stu- 
dents he instructed: he was a disciple 
of Ingres, impervious to the progress 
of art and angrily impatient with that 
tas de farceurs whose names were 
Manet, Degas, Monet, and Sisley; but 
he was an excellent teacher, helpful, 
polite, and encouraging. Foinet, on 
the other hand, who visited the studio 



on Fridays, was a difficult man to get 
on with. He was a small, shrivelled 
person, with bad teeth and a bilious 
air, an untidy gray beard, and savage 
eyes; his voice was high and his tone 
sarcastic. He had had pictures bought 
by the Luxembourg, and at twenty- 
five looked forward to a great career; 
but his talent was due to youth rather 
than to personality, and for twenty 
years he had done nothing but repeat 
the landscape which had brought him 
his early success. When he was re- 
proached with monotony, he an- 
swered: 

"Gorot only painted one thing. Why 
shouldn't I?" 

He was envious of everyone else's 
success, and had a peculiar, personal 
loathing of the Impressionists; for he 
looked upon his own failure as due 
to the mad fashion which had at- 
tracted the public, sale hete, to their 
works. The genial disdain of Michel 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



41 



Rollin, who called them impostors, 
was answered by him with vitupera- 
tion, of which crapule and canaille 
were the least violent items; he amused 
himself with abuse of their private 
lives, and with sardonic humour, with 
blasphemous and obscene detail, at- 
tacked the legitimacy of their births 
and the purity of their conjugal re- 
lations; he used an Oriental imagery 
and an Oriental emphasis to accentu- 
ate his ribald scorn. Nor did he con- 
ceal his contempt for the students 
whose work he examined. By them he 
was hated and feared; the women by 
his brutal sarcasm he reduced often 
to tears, which again aroused his 
ridicule; and he remained at the 
studio, notwithstanding the protests of 
those who suffered too bitterly from 
his attacks, because there could be no 
doubt that he was one of the best 
masters in Paris. Sometimes the old 
model who kept the school ventured 
to remonstrate with him, but his ex- 
postulations quickly gave way before 
the violent insolence of the painter to 
abject apologies. 

It was Foinet with whom Philip first 
came in contact. He was already in 
the studio when Philip arrived. He 
went round from easel to easel, with 
Mrs. Otter, the mossier e, by his side 
to interpret his remarks for the benefit 
of those who could not understand 
French. Fanny Price, sitting next to 
Philip, was working feverishly. Her 
face was sallow with nervousness, 
and every now and then she stopped 
to wipe her hands on her blouse; for 
they were hot with anxiety. Suddenly 
she turned to Philip with an anxious 
look, which she tried to hide by a 
sullen frown. 

"D'you think it's good?" she asked, 
nodding at her drawing. 

PhiHp got up and looked at it. He 
was astounded; he felt she must have 
no eye at all; the thing was hopelessly 



out of drawing. 

"I wish I could draw half as well 
myself," he answered. 

'You can't expect to, you've only 
just come. It's a bit too much to ex- 
pect that you should draw as well as 
I do. I've been here two years." 

Fanny Price puzzled Philip. Her 
conceit was stupendous. Philip had al- 
ready discovered that everyone in the 
studio cordially disliked her; and it 
was no wonder, for she seemed to go 
out of her way to wound people. 

"I complained to Mrs. Otter about 
Foinet," she said now. "The last two 
weeks he hasn't looked at my draw- 
ings. He spends about half an hour 
on Mrs. Otter because she's the mas- 
siere. After all I pay as much as any- 
body else, and I suppose my money's 
as good as theirs. I don't see why I 
shouldn't get as much attention as any- 
body else." 

She took up her charcoal again, but 
in a moment put it down with a groan. 

"I can't do any more now. I'm so 
frightfully nervous." 

She looked at Foinet, who was com- 
ing towards them with Mrs. Otter. 
Mrs. Otter, meek, mediocre, and self- 
satisfied, wore an air of importance. 
Foinet sat down at the easel of an un- 
tidy little Englishwoman called Ruth 
Chalice. She had the fine black eyes, 
languid but passionate, the thin face, 
ascetic but sensual, the skin like old 
ivory, which under the influence of 
Bume-Jones were cultivated at that 
time by young ladies in Chelsea. 
Foinet seemed in a pleasant mood; 
he did not say much to her, but with 
quick, determined strokes of her char- 
coal pointed out her errors. Miss 
Chalice beamed with pleasure when 
he rose. He came to Clutton, and by 
this time Philip was nervous too but 
Mrs. Otter had promised to make 
things easy for him. Foinet stood for 
a moment in front of Clutton's work. 



142 

biting his thumb silently, then absent- 
mindedly spat out upon the canvas the 
little piece of skin which he had bit- 
ten off. 

"That's a fine line," he said at last, 
indicating with his thumb what 
pleased him. "You're beginning to 
learn to draw." 

Glutton did not answer, but looked 
at the master with his usual air of 
sardonic indifference to the world's 
opinion. 

"I'm beginning to think you have at 
least a trace of talent." 

Mrs. Otter, who did not like 
Glutton, pursed her lips. She did not 
see anything out of the way in his 
work. Foinet sat down and went into 
technical details. Mrs. Otter grew 
rather tired of standing. Glutton did 
not say anything, but nodded now 
and then, and Foinet felt with satis- 
faction that he grasped what he said 
and the reasons of it; most of them 
listened to him, but it was clear they 
never understood. Then Foinet got up 
and came to Philip. 

"He only arrived two days ago," 
Mrs. Otter hurried to explain. "He's 
a beginner. He's never studied before." 

"Qa se voit" the master said. "One 
sees that." 

He passed on, and Mrs. Otter mur- 
mured to him : 

"This is the young lady I told you 
about." 

He looked at her as though she 
were some repulsive animal, and his 
voice grew more rasping. 

"It appears that you do not think I 
pay enough attention to you. You 
have been complaining to the niassiere. 
Well, show me this work to which 
you wish me to give attention." 

Fanny Price coloured. The blood 
under her unhealthy skin seemed to 
be of a strange purple. Without an- 
swering she pointed to the drawing 
on which she had been at work since 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



the beginning of the week. Foinet sat 
down. 

"Well, what do you wish me to say 
to you? Do you wish me to tell you 
it is good? It isn't. Do you wish me 
to tell you it is well drawn? It isn't. 
Do you wish me to say it has merit? 
It hasn't. Do you wish me to show 
you what is wrong with it? It is all 
wrong. Do you wish me to tell you 
what to do with it? Tear it up. Are 
you satisfied now?" 

Miss Price became very white. She 
was furious because he had said all 
this before Mrs. Otter. Though she 
had been in France so long and could 
understand French well enough, she 
could hardly speak two words. 

"He's got no right to treat me like 
that. My money's as good as anyone 
else's. I pay him to teach me. That's 
not teaching me." 

"What does she say? What does she 
say?" asked Foinet. 

Mrs. Otter hesitated to translate, 
and Miss Price repeated in execrable 
French. 

"]e vous paye pour m'apprendre.'* 

His eyes flashed with rage, he raised 
his voice and shook his fist. 

"Mais, nom de Dieu, I can't teach 
you. I could more easily teach a 
camel." He turned to Mrs. Otter. "Ask 
her, does she do this for amusement, 
or does she expect to earn money by 
it?" 

"I'm going to earn my living as an 
artist," Miss Price answered. 

"Then it is my duty to tell you 
that you are wasting your time. It 
would not matter that you have no 
talent, talent does not run about the 
streets in these days, but you have not 
the beginning of an aptitude. How 
long have you been here? A child of 
five after two lessons would draw bet- 
ter than you do. I only say one thing 
to you, give up this hopeless attempt. 
You're more likely to earn your living 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



43 



as a honne a tout faire than as a 
painter. Look." 

He seized a piece of charcoal, and 
it broke as he applied it to the paper. 
He cursed, and with the stump drew 
great firm Hnes. He drew rapidly and 
spoke at the same time, spitting out 
the words with venom. 

"Look, those arms are not the same 
length. That knee, it's grotesque. I tell 
you a child of five. You see, she's not 
standing on her legs. That foot!" 

With each word the angry pencil 
made a mark, and in a moment the 
drawing upon which Fanny Price 
had spent so much time and eager 
trouble was unrecognisable, a confu- 
sion of lines and smudges. At last he 
flung down the charcoal and stood up. 

"Take my advice, Mademoiselle, try 
dressmaking." He looked at his watch. 
"It's twelve. A la semaine prochaine, 
messieurs." 

Miss Price gathered up her things 
slowly. Philip waited behind after the 
others to say to her something con- 
solatory. He could think of nothing 
but: 

"I say, Fm awfully sorry. What a 
beast that man is!" 

She turned on him savagely. 

"Is that what you're waiting about 
for? When I want your sympathy 
I'll ask for it. Please get out of my 
way." 

She walked past him, out of the 
studio, and Philip, with a shrug of 
the shoulders, limped along to 
Gravier's for luncheon. 

"It served her right," said Lawson, 
when Philip told him what had hap- 
pened. "Ill-tempered slut." 

Lawson was very sensitive to criti- 
cism and, in order to avoid it, never 
went to the studio when Foinet was 
coming. 

"I don't want other people's opinion 
of my work," he said. "I know my- 
self if it's good or bad." 



"You mean you don't want other 
people's bad opinion of your work," 
answered Glutton dryly. 

In the afternoon Philip thought he 
would go to the Luxembourg to see 
the pictures, and walking through the 
garden he saw Fanny Price sitting 
in her accustomed seat. He was sore 
at the rudeness with which she had 
met his well-meant attempt to say 
something pleasant, and passed as 
though he had not caught sight of 
her. But she got up at once and came 
towards him. 

"Are you trying to cut me?" she 
said. 

"No, of course not. I thought per- 
haps you didn't want to be spoken to." 

"Where are you going?" 

"I wanted to have a look at the 
Manet, I've heard so much about it." 

"Would you like me to come with 
you? I know the Luxembourg rather 
well. I could show you one or two 
good things." 

He understood that, unable to 
bring herself to apologise directly, she 
made this offer as amends. 

"It's awfully kind of you. I should 
like it very much." 

"You needn't say yes if you'd rather 
go alone," she said suspiciously. 

"I wouldn't." 

They walked towards the gallery. 
Gaillebotte's collection had lately been 
placed on view, and the student for 
the first time had the opportunity to 
examine at his ease the works of the 
Impressionists. Till then it had been 
possible to see them only at Durand- 
Ruel's shop in the Rue Lafitte (and 
the dealer, unlike his fellows in Eng- 
land, who adopt towards the painter 
an attitude of superiority, was always 
pleased to show the shabbiest student 
whatever he wanted to see), or at his 
private house, to which it was not 
difiicult to get a card of admission on 
Tuesdays, and where you might see 



144 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



pictures of world-wide reputation. Miss 
Price led Philip straight up to Manet's 
Olympia. He looked at it in astonished 
silence. 

"Do you like it?" asked Miss Price. 

"I don't know," he answered help- 
lessly. 

"You can take it from me that it's the 
best thing in the gallery except per- 
haps Whistler's portrait of his mother." 

She gave him a certain time to 
contemplate the masterpiece and then 
took him to a picture representing a 
railway-station. 

"Look, here's a Monet," she said. 
"It's the Gare St. Lazare." 

"But the railway lines aren't par- 
allel," said Philip. 

"What does that matter?" she asked, 
with a haughty air. 

Philip felt ashamed of himself. 
Fanny Price had picked up the glib 
chatter of the studios and had no diffi- 
culty in impressing Philip with the 
extent of her knowledge. She pro- 
ceeded to explain the pictures to him, 
superciliously but not without insight, 
and showed him what the painters 
had attempted and what he must look 
for. She talked with much gesticula- 
tion of the thumb, and Philip, to 
whom all she said was new, listened 
with profound but bewildered interest. 
Till now he had worshipped Watts 
and Burne-Jones. The pretty colour of 
the first, the affected drawing of the 
second, had entirely satisfied his 
aesthetic sensibilities. Their vague 
idealism, the suspicion of a philosophi- 
cal idea which underlay the titles they 
gave their pictures, accorded very well 
with the functions of art as from his 
diligent perusal of Ruskin he under- 
stood it; but here was something quite 
different: here was no moral appeal; 
and the contemplation of these works 
could help no one to lead a purer and 
a higher life. He was puzzled. 

At last he said: "You know, I'm 



simply dead. I don't think I can absorb 
anything more profitably. Let's go and 
sit down on one of the benches." 

"It's better not to take too much art 
at a time," Miss Price answered. 

When they got outside he thanked 
her warmly for the trouble she had 
taken. 

"Oh, that's all right," she said, a 
little ungraciously. "I do it because I 
enjoy it. We'll go to the Louvre to- 
morrow if you like, and then I'll take 
you to Durand-Ruel's." 

"You're really awfully good to me." 

"You don't think me such a beast 
as the most of them do." 

"I don't," he smiled. 

"They think they'll drive me away 
from the studio; but they won't; I 
shall stay there just exactly as long 
as it suits me. All that this morning, 
it was Lucy Otter's doing, I know it 
was. She always has hated me. She 
thought after that I'd take myself off. 
I daresay she'd like me to go. She's 
afraid I know too much about her." 

Miss Price told him a long, involved 
story, which made out that Mrs. Otter, 
a humdrum and respectable little per- 
son, had scabrous intrigues. Then she 
talked of Ruth Chalice, the girl whom 
Foinet had praised that morning. 

"She's been with every one of the 
fellows at the studio. She's nothing 
better than a street-walker. And she's 
dirty. She hasn't had a bath for a 
month. I know it for a fact." 

Philip listened uncomfortably. He 
had heard already that various nmiours 
were in circulation about Miss 
Chalice; but it was ridiculous to sup- 
pose that Mrs. Otter, living with her 
mother, was anything but rigidly vir- 
tuous. The woman walking by his 
side with her malignant lying posi- 
tively horrified him. 

"I don't care what they say. I shall 
go on just the same. I know I've got 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



145 



it in me. I feel Fm an artist. I'd sooner 
kill myself than give it up. Oh, I 
shan't be the first they've all laughed 
at in the schools and then he's turned 
out the only genius of the lot. Art's the 
only thing I care for, I'm willing to 
give my whole life to it. It's only a 
question of sticking to it and pegging 
away." 

She found discreditable motives for 
everyone who would not take her at 
her own estimate of herself. She de- 
tested Glutton. She told Philip that 



his friend had no talent really; it was 
just flashy and superficial; he couldn't 
compose a figure to save his life. And 
Lawson : 

"Little beast, with red hair and his 
freckles. He's so afraid of Foinet that 
he won't let him see his work. After 
all, I don't funk it, do I? I don't care 
what Foinet says to me, I know I'm a 
real artist." 

They reached the street in which 
she lived, and with a sigh of relief 
Philip left her. 



XLIV 



But notwithstanding when Miss 
Price on the following Sunday offered 
to take him to the Louvre Philip ac- 
cepted. She showed him Monna Lisa. 
He looked at it with a slight feeling 
of disappointment, but he had read 
till he knew by heart the jewelled 
words with which Walter Pater has 
added beauty to the most famous pic- 
ture in the world; and these now he 
repeated to Miss Price. 

"That's all literature," she said, a 
little contemptuously. "You must get 
away from that." 

She showed him the Rembrandts, 
and she said many appropriate things 
about them. She stood in front of the 
Disciples at Emmaus. 

"When you feel the beauty of 
that," she said, "you'll know something 
about painting." 

She showed him the Odalisque and 
La Source of Ingres. Fanny Price 
was a peremptory guide, she would 
not let him look at the things he 
wished, and attempted to force his 
admiration for all she admired. She 
was desperately in earnest with her 
study of art, and when Philip, passing 
in the Long Gallery a window that 



looked out on the Tuileries, gay, 
sunny, and urbane, like a picture by 
RafFaelli, exclaimed: 

"I say, how jollyl Do let's stop here 
a minute." 

She said, indifferently: "Yes, it's all 
right. But we've come here to look at 
pictures." 

The autumn air, blithe and viva- 
cious, elated Philip; and when to- 
wards mid-day they stood in the great 
court-yard of the Louvre, he felt in- 
clined to cry like Flanagan: To Hell 
with art. 

"I say, do let's go to one of those 
restaurants in the Boul' Mich' and 
have a snack together, shall we?" he 
suggested. 

Miss Price gave him a suspicious 
look. 

"I've got my lunch waiting for me 
at home," she answered. 

"That doesn't matter. You can eat 
it tomorrow. Do let me stand you a 
lunch." 

"I don't know why you want to." 

"It would give me pleasure," he re- 
plied, smiling. 

They crossed the river, and at the 



146 

corner of the Boulevard St. Michel 
there was a restaurant. 

"Let's go in there." 

"No, I won't go there, it looks too 
expensive." 

She walked on firmly, and Philip 
was obliged to follow. A few steps 
brought them to a smaller restaurant, 
where a dozen people were already 
lunching on the pavement under an 
awning; on the window was an- 
nounced in large white letters: 
Dejeuner 1.25, vin compris. 

"We couldn't have anything 
cheaper than this, and it looks quite 
all right." 

They sat down at a vacant table 
and waited for the omelette which was 
the first article on the bill of fare. 
Philip gazed with delight upon the 
passersby. His heart went out to them. 
He was tired but very happy. 

"I say, look at that man in the 
blouse. Isn't he ripping!" 

He glanced at Miss Price, and to 
his astonishment saw that she was 
looking down at her plate, regardless 
of the passing spectacle, and two 
heavy tears were rolling down her 
cheeks. 

"What on earth's the matter?" he 
exclaimed. 

"If you say anything to me I shall 
get up and go at once," she answered. 

He was entirely puzzled, but for- 
tunately at that moment the omelette 
came. He divided it in two and they 
began to eat. Philip did his best to 
talk of indifferent things, and it 
seemed as though Miss Price were 
making an effort on her side to be 
agreeable; but the luncheon was not 
altogether a success. Philip was 
squeamish, and the way in which 
Miss Price ate took his appetite away. 
She ate noisily, greedily, a little like a 
wild beast in a menagerie, and after 
she had finished each course rubbed 
the plate with pieces of bread till it 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



was white and shining, as if she did 
not wish to lose a single drop of 
gravy. They had Camembert cheese, 
and it disgusted Philip to see that she 
ate rind and all of the portion that was 
given her. She could not have eaten 
more ravenously if she were starving. 

Miss Price was unaccountable, and 
having parted from her on one day 
with friendliness he could never tell 
whether on the next she would not 
be sulky and uncivil; but he learned 
a good deal from her: though she 
could not draw well herself, she 
knew all that could be taught, and her 
constant suggestions helped his prog- 
ress. Mrs. Otter was useful to him too, 
and sometimes Miss Chalice criticised 
his work; he learned from the glib 
loquacity of Lawson and from the ex- 
ample of Glutton. But Fanny Price 
hated him to take suggestions from 
anyone but herself, and when he 
asked her help after someone else had 
been talking to him she would refuse 
with brutal rudeness. The other fel- 
lows, Lawson, Glutton, Flanagan, 
chaffed him about her. 

"You be careful, my lad," they said, 
"she's in love with you." 

"Oh, what nonsense," he laughed. 

The thought that Miss Price could 
be in love with anyone was preposter- 
ous. It made him shudder when he 
thought of her uncomeliness, the be- 
draggled hair and the dirty hands, the 
brown dress she always wore, stained 
and ragged at the hem: he supposed 
she was hard up, they were all hard 
up, but she might at least be clean; 
and it was surely possible with a nee- 
dle and thread to make her skirt tidy. 

Philip began to sort his impressions 
of the people he was thrown in con- 
tact with. He was not so ingenuous 
as in those days which now seemed 
so long ago at Heidelberg, and, be- 
ginning to take a more deliberate in- 
terest in humanity, he was inclined to 



i 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



147 



examine and to criticise. He found it 
difficult to know Glutton any better 
after seeing him every day for three 
months than on the first day of their 
acquaintance. The general impression 
at the studio was that he was able; 
it was supposed that he would do 
great things, and he shared the general 
opinion; but what exactly he was go- 
ing to do neither he nor anybody else 
quite knew. He had worked at several 
studios before Amitrano's, at Julian's, 
the Beaux Arts, and MacPherson's, 
and was remaining longer at 
Amitrano's than anywhere because he 
found himself more left alone. He 
was not fond of showing his work, 
and unlike most of the young men 
who were studying art neither sought 
nor gave advice. It was said that in 
the little studio in the Rue Campagne 
Premiere, which served him for work- 
room and bed-room, he had wonderful 
pictures which would make his repu- 
tation if only he could be induced to 
exhibit them. He could not afford a 
model but painted still life, and Law- 
son constantly talked of a plate of 
apples which he declared was a mas- 
terpiece. He was fastidious, and, aim- 
ing at something he did not quite fully 
grasp, was constantly dissatisfied with 
his work as a whole: perhaps a part 
would please him, the forearm or the 
leg and foot of a figure, a glass or a 
cup in a still-life; and he would cut 
this out and keep it, destroying the 
rest of the canvas; so that when peo- 
ple invited themselves to see his work 
he could truthfully answer that he 
had not a single picture to show. In 
Brittany he had come across a painter 
whom nobody else had heard of, a 
queer fellow who had been a stock- 
broker and taken up painting at mid- 
dle-age, and he was greatly influenced 
by his work. He was turning his back 
on the Impressionists and working out 
for himself painfully an individual 



way not only of painting but of see- 
ing. Philip felt in him something 
strangely original. 

At Gravier's where they ate, and in 
the evening at the Versailles or at 
the Gloserie des Lilas Glutton was in- 
clined to taciturnity. He sat quietly, 
with a sardonic expression on his 
gaunt face, and spoke only when the 
opportunity occurred to throw in a 
witticism. He liked a butt and was 
most cheerful when someone was 
there on whom he could exercise his 
sarcasm. He seldom talked of anything 
but painting, and then only with the 
one or two persons whom he thought 
worth while. Philip wondered 
whether there was in him really any- 
thing: his reticence, the haggard look 
of him, the pungent humour, seemed 
to suggest personality, but might be 
no more than an effective mask which 
covered nothing. 

With Lawson on the other hand 
Philip soon grew intimate. He had a 
variety of interests which made him 
an agreeable companion. He read 
more than most of the students and 
though his income was small, loved 
to buy books. He lent them willingly; 
and PhiHp became acquainted with 
Flaubert and Balzac, with Verlaine, 
Heredia, and Villiers de I'lsle Adam. 
They went to plays together and some- 
times to the gallery of the Opera 
Comique. There was the Odeon quite 
near them, and Philip soon shared his 
friend's passion for the tragedians of 
Louis XIV and the sonorous Alexan- 
drine. In the Rue Taitbout were the 
Goncerts Rouge, where for seventy-five 
centimes they could hear excellent 
music and get into the bargain some- 
thing which it was quite possible to 
drink: the seats were uncomfortable, 
the place was crowded, the air thick 
with caporal horrible to breathe, but 
in their young enthusiasm they were 
indifferent. Sometimes they went to 



148 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



the Bal Bullier. On these occasions 
Flanagan accompanied them. His ex- 
citability and his roisterous enthusiasm 
made them laugh. He was an excellent 
dancer, and before they had been ten 
minutes in the room he was prancing 
round with some little shop-girl whose 
acquaintance he had just made. 

The desire of all of them was to 
have a mistress. It was part of the 
paraphernalia of the art-student in 
Paris. It gave consideration in the eyes 
of one's fellows. It was something to 
boast about. But the diflBculty was that 
they had scarcely enough money to 
keep themselves, and though they ar- 
gued that Frenchwomen were so 
clever it cost no more to keep two 
than one, they found it difficult to 
meet young women who were willing 
to take that view of the circumstances. 
They had to content themselves for 
the most part with envying and 
abusing the ladies who received pro- 
tection from painters of more settled 
respectability than their own. It was 
extraordinary how difficult these things 
were in Paris. Lawson would become 
acquainted with some young thing and 
make an appointment; for twenty-four 
hours he would be all in a flutter and 
describe the charmer at length to ev- 
eryone he met; but she never by any 
chance turned up at the time fixed. 
He would come to Gravier's very late, 
ill-tempered, and exclaim: 

"Confound it, another rabbit! I 
don't know why it is they don't like 
me. I suppose it's because I don't speak 
French well, or my red hair. It's too 
sickening to have spent over a year in 
Paris without getting hold of anyone." 

"You don't go the right way to 
work," said Flanagan. 

He had a long and enviable list 
of triumphs to narrate, and though 
they took leave not to believe all he 
said, evidence forced them to acknowl- 
edge that he did not altogether lie. 



But he sought no permanent arrange- 
ment. He only had two years in Paris: 
he had persuaded his people to let 
him come and study art instead of 
going to college; but at the end of 
that period he was to return to Seattle 
and go into his father's business. He 
had made up his mind to get as much 
fun as possible into the time, and de- 
manded variety rather than duration 
in his love affairs. 

"I don't know how you get hold 
of them," said Lawson furiously. 

"There's no difficulty about that, 
sonny," answered Flanagan. "You just 
go right in. The difficulty is to get rid 
of them. That's where you want tact." 

Philip was too much occupied with 
his work, the books he was reading, 
the plays he saw, the conversation he 
listened to, to trouble himself with 
the desire for female society. He 
thought there would be plenty of time 
for that when he could speak French 
more glibly. 

It was more than a year now since 
he had seen Miss Wilkinson, and dur- 
ing his first weeks in Paris he had been 
too busy to answer a letter she had 
written to him just before he left 
Blackstable. When another came, 
knowing it would be full of reproaches 
and not being just then in the mood 
for them, he put it aside, intending 
to open it later; but he forgot and 
did not run across it till a month aft- 
erwards, when he was turning out a 
drawer to find some socks that had 
no holes in them. He looked at the 
unopened letter with dismay. He was 
afraid that Miss Wilkinson had suf- 
fered a good deal, and it made him 
feel a brute; but she had probably got 
over the suffering by now, at all 
events the worst of it. It suggested it- 
self to him that women were often 
very emphatic in their expressions. 
These did not mean so much as when 
men used them. He had quite made 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



149 



up his mind that nothing would in- 
duce him ever to see her again. He 
had not written for so long that it 
seemed hardly worth while to write 
now. He made up his mind not to 
read the letter. 

"I daresay she won't write again," 
he said to himself. "She can't help 
seeing the thing's over. After all, she 
was old enough to be my mother; 
she ought to have known better." 

For an hour or two he felt a little 
uncomfortable. His attitude was ob- 
viously the right one, but he could 
not help a feeling of dissatisfaction 
with the whole business. Miss Wilkin- 
son, however, did not write again; 
nor did she, as he absurdly feared, 
suddenly appear in Paris to make him 
ridiculous before his friends. In a little 
while he clean forgot her. 

Meanwhile he definitely forsook 
his old gods. The amazement with 
which at first he had looked upon the 
works of the Impressionists, changed 
to admiration; and presently he found 
himself talking as emphatically as the 
rest on the merits of Manet, Monet, 
and Degas. He bought a photograph of 
a drawing by Ingres of the Odalisque 
and a photograph of the Olympia. 



They were pinned side by side over 
his washing-stand so that he could 
contemplate their beauty while he 
shaved. He knew now quite positively 
that there had been no painting of 
landscape before Monet; and he felt 
a real thrill when he stood in front of 
Rembrandt's Disciples at Emmaus or 
Velasquez' hady with the Fleabitten 
Nose. That was not her real name, 
but by that she was distinguished at 
Gravier's to emphasise the picture's 
beauty notwithstanding the somewhat 
revolting peculiarity of the sitter's ap- 
pearance. With Ruskin, Bume-Jones, 
and Watts, he had put aside his bowler 
hat and the neat blue tie with white 
spots which he had worn on 
coming to Paris; and now disported 
himself in a soft, broad-brimmed hat, 
a flovdng black cravat, and a cape of 
romantic cut. He walked along the 
Boulevard du Montpamasse as though 
he had known it all his life, and by 
virtuous perseverance he had learnt to 
drink absinthe without distaste. He 
was letting his hair grow, and it was 
only because Nature is unkind and 
has no regard for the immortal long- 
ings of youth that he did not attempt 
a beard. 



XLV 



Philip soon reaHsed that the spirit 
which informed his friends was Cron- 
shaw's. It was from him that Lawson 
got his paradoxes; and even Glutton, 
who strained after individuality, ex- 
pressed himself in the terms he had 
insensibly acquired from the older 
man. It was his ideas that they bandied 
about at table, and on his authority 
they formed their judgments. They 
made up for the respect with which 
unconsciously they treated him by 



laughing at his foibles and lamenting 
his vices. 

"Of course, poor old Gronshaw will 
never do any good," they said. "He's 
quite hopeless." 

They prided themselves on being 
alone in appreciating his genius; and 
though, with the contempt of youth 
for the follies of middle-age, they 
patronised him among themselves, 
they did not fail to look upon it as a 
feather in their caps if he had chosen 



I50 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



a time when only one was there to be 
particularly wonderful. Cronshaw 
never came to Gravier's. For the last 
four years he had lived in squalid con- 
ditions with a woman whom only 
Lawson had once seen, in a tiny apart- 
ment on the sixth floor of one of the 
most dilapidated houses on the Quai 
des Grands Augustins: Lawson de- 
scribed with gusto the filth, the un- 
tidiness, the litter. 

"And the stink nearly blew your 
head off." 

"Not at dinner, Lawson," expostu- 
lated one of the others. 

But he would not deny himself the 
pleasure of giving picturesque details 
of the odours which met his nostril. 
With a fierce delight in his own 
realism he described the woman who 
had opened the door for him. She 
was dark, small, and fat, quite young, 
with black hair that seemed always on 
the point of coming down. She wore 
a slatternly blouse and no corsets. With 
her red cheeks, large sensual mouth, 
and shining, lewd eyes, she reminded 
you of the Bohemienne in the Louvre 
by Franz Hals. She had a flaunting 
vulgarity which amused and yet hor- 
rified. A scrubby, unwashed baby was 
playing on the floor. It was known 
that the slut deceived Cronshaw with 
the most worthless ragamuffins of the 
Quarter, and it was a mystery to the 
ingenuous youths who absorbed his 
wisdom over a caf6 table that Cron- 
shaw with his keen intellect and his 
passion for beauty could ally himself 
to such a creature. But he seemed to 
revel in the coarseness of her language 
and would often report some phrase 
which reeked of the gutter. He re- 
ferred to her ironically as la fille de 
mon concierge. Cronshaw was very 
poor. He earned a bare subsistence by 
writing on the exhibitions of pictures 
for one or two English papers, and he 
did a certain amount of translating. 



He had been on the staffs of an Eng- 
lish paper in Paris; but had been dis- 
missed for drunkenness; he still how- 
ever did odd jobs for it, describing sales 
at the Hotel Drouot or the revues 
at music-halls. The life of Paris had 
got into his bones, and he would not 
change it, notwithstanding its squalor, 
drudgery, and hardship, for any other 
in the world. He remained there all 
through the year, even in summer 
when everyone he knew was away, 
and felt himself only at ease within 
a mile of the Boulevard St. Michel. 
But the curious thing was that he had 
never learnt to speak French passably, 
and he kept in his shabby clothes 
bought at La Belle Jardiniere an in- 
eradicably English appearance. 

He was a man who would have 
made a success of life a century and a 
half ago when conversation was a 
passport to good company and inebri- 
ety no bar. 

"I ought to have lived in the eight- 
een hundreds," he said himself. "What 
I want is a patron. I should have 
published my poems by subscription 
and dedicated them to a nobleman. I 
long to compose rhymed couplets upon 
the poodle of a countess. My soul 
yearns for the love of chambermaids 
and the conversation of bishops." 

Fie quoted the romantic Rolla, 

"]e suis venu trop tard dans un 
monde trop vieux." 

He liked new faces, and he took a 
fancy to Philip, who seemed to achieve 
the difficult feat of talking just enough 
to suggest conversation and not too 
much to prevent monologue. Philip 
was captivated. He did not realise that 
little that Cronshaw said was new. 
His personality in conversation had a 
curious power. He had a beautiful 
and a sonorous voice, and a manner 
of putting things which was irresist- 
ible to youth. All he said seemed to 
excite thought, and often on the way 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



151 



home Lawson and Philip would walk 
to and from one another's hotels, dis- 
cussing some point which a chance 
word of Cronshaw had suggested. It 
was disconcerting to Philip, who had 
a youthful eagerness for results, that 
Cronshaw's poetry hardly came up to 
expectation. It had never been pub- 
lished in a volume, but most of it 
had appeared in periodicals; and after 
a good deal of persuasion Cronshaw 
brought down a bundle of pages torn 
out of The Yellow Book, The Sat- 
urday Review, and other journals, on 
each of which was a poem. Philip 
was taken aback to find that most of 
them reminded him either of Henley 
or of Swinburne. It needed the 
splendour of Cronshaw's delivery to 
make them personal. He expressed his 
disappointment to Lawson, who care- 
lessly repeated his words; and next 
time Philip went to the Closerie des 
Lilas the poet turned to him with his 
sleek smile : 

"I hear you don't think much of 
my verses." 

Philip was embarrassed. 

"I don't know about that," he an- 
swered. "I enjoyed reading them very 
much." 

"Do not attempt to spare my feel- 
ings," returned Cronshaw, with a wave 
of his fat hand. "I do not attach any 
exaggerated importance to my poetical 
works. Life is there to be lived rather 
than to be written about. My aim is 
to search out the manifold experience 
that it offers, wringing from each mo- 
ment what of emotion it presents. I 
look upon my writing as a graceful 
accomplishment which does not ab- 
sorb but rather adds pleasure to ex- 
istence. And as for posterity— damn 
posterity." 

Philip smiled, for it leaped to one's 
eyes that the artist in life had pro- 
duced no more than a wretched daub. 
Cronshaw looked at him meditatively 



and filled his glass. He sent the waiter 
for a packet of cigarettes. 

"You are amused because I talk in 
this fashion and you know that I am 
poor and live in an attic with a vulgar 
trollop who deceives me with hair- 
dressers and gargons de cafe; I trans- 
late vnretched books for the British 
public, and write articles upon con- 
temptible pictures which deserve not 
even to be abused. But pray tell me 
what is the meaning of life^' 

"I say, that's rather a difficult ques- 
tion. Won't you give the answer your- 
self^" 

"No, because it's worthless unless 
you yourself discover it. But what do 
you suppose you are in the world for?" 

Philip had never asked himself, 
and he thought for a moment before 
replying. 

"Oh, I don't know: I suppose to do 
one's duty, and make the best possible 
use of one's faculties, and avoid hurt- 
ing other people." 

"In short, to do unto others as you 
would they should do unto you?" 

"I suppose so." 

"Christianity," 

"No, it isn't," said Philip in- 
dignantly. "It has nothing to do with 
Christianity. It's just abstract morality." 

"But there's no such thing as ab- 
stract morality." 

"In that case, supposing under the 
influence of liquor you left your purse 
behind when you leave here and I 
picked it up, why do you imagine 
that I should return it to you? It's 
not the fear of the police." 

"It's the dread of hell if you sin 
and the hope of Heaven if you are 
virtuous." 

"But I believe in neither." 

"That may be. Neither did Kant 
when he devised the Categorical Im- 
perative. You have thrown aside a 
creed, but you have preserved the 
ethic which was based upon it. To 



152 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



all intents you are a Christian still, 
and if there is a God in Heaven you 
will undoubtedly receive your reward. 
The Almighty can hardly be such a 
fool as the churches make out. If 
you keep His laws I don't think He 
can care a packet of pins whether 
you believe in Him or not." 

"But if I left my purse behind you 
would certainly return it to me," said 
Philip. 

"Not from motives of abstract 
morality, but only from fear of the 
police." 

"It's a thousand to one that the 
police would never find out." 

"My ancestors have lived in a civil- 
ised state so long that the fear of the 
police has eaten into my bones. The 
daughter of my concierge would not 
hesitate for a moment. You answer that 
she belongs to the criminal classes; 
not at all, she is merely devoid of 
vulgar prejudice." 

"But then that does away with 
honour and virtue and goodness and 
decency and everything," said Philip. 

"Have you ever committed a sin'?" 

"I don't know, I suppose so," an- 
swered Philip. 

"You speak with the lips of a dis- 
senting minister. I have never com- 
mitted a sin." 

Cronshaw in his shabby great-coat, 
with the collar turned up, and his hat 
well down on his head, with his red 
fat face and his little gleaming eyes, 
looked extraordinarily comic; but 
Philip was too much in earnest to 
laugh. 

"Have you never done anything 
you regret?" 

"How can I regret when what I 
did was inevitable?" asked Cronshaw 
in return. 

"But that's fatalism." 

"The illusion which man has that 
his will is free is so deeply rooted that 
I am ready to accept it. I act as 



though I were a free agent. But when 
an action is performed it is clear that 
all the forces of the universe from all 
eternity conspired to cause it, and 
nothing I could do could have pre- 
vented it. It was inevitable. If it was 
good I can claim no merit; if it was 
bad I can accept no censure." 

"My brain reels," said Philip. 

"Have some whiskey," returned 
Cronshaw, passing over the bottle. 
"There's nothing like it for clearing 
the head. You must expect to be 
thick-witted if you insist upon drink- 
ing beer." 

Philip shook his head, and Cron- 
shaw proceeded: 

"You're not a bad fellow, but you 
won't drink. Sobriety disturbs con- 
versation. But when I speak of good 
and bad . . ." Philip saw he was 
taking up the thread of his discourse, 
"I speak conventionally. I attach no 
meaning to those words. I refuse to 
make a hierarchy of human actions 
and ascribe worthiness to some and 
ill-repute to others. The terms vice 
and virtue have no signification for 
me. I do not confer praise or blame: 
I accept. I am the measure of all 
things. I am the centre of the world." 

"But there are one or two other 
people in the world," objected Philip. 

"I speak only for myself. I know 
them only as they limit my activities. 
Round each of them too the world 
turns, and each one for himself is the 
centre of the universe. My right over 
them extends only as far as my power. 
What I can do is the only limit of 
what I may do. Because we are gre- 
garious we live in society, and society 
holds together by means of force, force 
of arms (that is the policeman) and 
force of the public opinion (that is 
Mrs. Grundy). You have society on 
one hand and the individual on the 
other: each is an organism striving 
for self-perservation. It is might against 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



153 



might. I stand alone, bound to accept 
society and not unwilling, since in 
return for the taxes I pay it protects 
me, a weakling, against the tyranny 
of another stronger than I am; but I 
submit to its laws because I must; I 
do not acknowledge their justice: I do 
not know justice, I only know power. 
And when I have paid for the police- 
man who protects me and, if I live 
in a country where conscription is in 
force, served in the army which guards 
my house and land from the invader, 
I am quits with society: for the rest I 
counter its might with my wiliness. It 
makes laws for its self-preservation, 
and if I break them it imprisons or 
kills me: it has the might to do so and 
therefore the right. If I break the laws 
I will accept the vengeance of the 
state, but I will not regard it as punish- 
ment nor shall I feel myself convicted 
of wrong-doing. Society tempts me 
to its service by honours and riches 
and the good opinion of my fellows; 
but I am indifferent to their good 
opinion, I despise honours and I can 
do very well without riches." 

"But if everyone thought like you 
things would go to pieces at once." 

"I have nothing to do with others, 
I am only concerned with myself. I 
take advantage of the fact that the 
majority of mankind are led by certain 
rewards to do things which directly or 
indirectly tend to my convenience." 

"It seems to me an awfully selfish 
way of looking at things," said Philip. 

"But are you under the impression 
that men ever do anything except for 
selfish reasons?" 

"Yes." 

"It is impossible that they should. 
You will find as you grow older that 
the first thing needful to make the 
world a tolerable place to live in is 
to recognise the inevitable selfishness 
of humanity. You demand unselfish- 
ness from others, which is a prepos- 



terous claim that they should sacrifice 
their desires to yours. Why should 
they? When you are reconciled to the 
fact that each is for himself in the 
world you will ask less from your 
fellows. They will not disappoint you, 
and you will look upon them more 
charitably. Men seek but one thing 
in life— their pleasure." 

"No, no, no!" cried Phihp. 

Cronshaw chuckled. 

"You rear like a frightened colt, 
because I use a word to which your 
Christianity ascribes a deprecatory 
meaning. You have a hierarchy of 
values; pleasure is at the bottom of the 
ladder, and you speak with a little 
thrill of self-satisfaction, of duty, char- 
ity, and truthfulness. You think pleas- 
ure is only of the senses; the v^nretched 
slaves who manufactured your moral- 
ity despised a satisfaction which they 
had small means of enjoying. You 
would not be so frightened if I had 
spoken of happiness instead of pleas- 
ure: it sounds less shocking, and your 
mind wanders from the sty of Epi- 
curus to his garden. But I will speak 
of pleasure, for I see that men aim at 
that, and I do not know that they aim 
at happiness. It is pleasure that lurks 
in the practice of every one of your 
virtues. Man performs actions be- 
cause they are good for him, and when 
they are good for other people as 
well they are thought virtuous: if he 
finds pleasure in giving alms he is 
charitable; if he finds pleasure in help- 
ing others he is benevolent; if he 
finds pleasure in working for society 
he is public-spirited; but it is for your 
private pleasure that you give two- 
pence to a beggar as much as it is 
for my private pleasure that I drink 
another whiskey and soda. I, less of 
a humbug than you, neither applaud 
myself for my pleasure nor demand 
your admiration." 

"But have you never known people 



154 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



do things they didn't want to instead 
of things they did?" 

"No. You put your question fool- 
ishly. What you mean is that people 
accept an immediate pain rather than 
an immediate pleasure. The objection 
is as foolish as your manner of putting 
it. It is clear that men accept an im- 
mediate pain rather than an imme- 
diate pleasure, but only because they 
expect a greater pleasure in the future. 
Often the pleasure is illusory, but 
their error in calculation is no refuta- 
tion of the rule. You are puzzled be- 
cause you cannot get over the idea 
that pleasures are only of the senses; 
but, child, a man who dies for his 
country dies because he likes it as 
surely as a man eats pickled cabbage 
because he likes it. It is a law of 
creation. If it were possible for men 
to prefer pain to pleasure the human 
race would have long since become 
extinct.'' 

"But if all that is true," cried Philip, 
"what is the use of anything? If you 
take away duty and goodness and 
beauty why are we brought into the 
world?" 

"Here comes the gorgeous East to 
suggest an answer," smiled Cronshaw. 
He pointed to two persons who at 
that moment opened the door of the 
cafe, and, with a blast of cold air, 
entered. They were Levantines, itiner- 
ant vendors of cheap rugs, and each 
bore on his arm a bundle. It was Sun- 
day evening, and the cafe was 
very full. They passed among the 
tables, and in that atmosphere heavy 
and discoloured with tobacco smoke, 
rank with humanity, they seemed to 
bring an air of mystery. They were 
clad in European, shabby clothes, 
their thin great-coats were threadbare, 
but each wore a tarbouch. Their faces 
were gray with cold. One was of mid- 
dle age, with a black beard, but the 



other was a youth of eighteen, with a 
face deeply scarred by smallpox and 
with one eye only. They passed by 
Cronshaw and Philip. 

"Allah is great, and Mahomet is 
his prophet," said Cronshaw impres- 
sively. 

The elder advanced with a cring- 
ing smile, like a mongrel used to 
blows. With a sidelong glance at the 
door and a quick surreptitious move- 
ment he showed a pornographic pic- 
ture. 

"Are you Masr-ed-Deen, the mer- 
chant of Alexandria, or is it from far 
Bagdad that you bring your goods, O, 
my uncle; and yonder one-eyed youth, 
do I see in him one of the three 
kings of whom Scheherazade told 
stories to her lord?" 

The pedlar's smile grew more in- 
gratiating, though he understood no 
word of what Cronshaw said, and like 
a conjurer he produced a sandal-wood 
box. 

"Nay, show us the priceless web 
of Eastern looms," quoth Cronshaw. 
"For I would point a moral and adorn 
a tale." 

The Levantine unfolded a table- 
cloth, red and yellow, vulgar, hideous, 
and grotesque. 

"Thirty-five francs," he said. 

"O, my uncle, this cloth knew not 
the weavers of Samarkand, and those 
colours were never made in the vats 
of Bokhara." 

"Twenty-five francs," smiled the 
pedlar obsequiously. 

"Ultima Thule was the place of its 
manufacture, even Birmingham the 
place of my birth." 

"Fifteen francs," cringed the bearded 
man. 

"Get thee gone, fellow," said Cron- 
shaw. "May wild asses defile the 
grave of thy maternal grandmother." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



55 



Imperturbably, but smiling no more, 
the Levantine passed with his wares 
to another table. Cronshaw turned to 
Philip, 

"Have you ever been to the Cluny, 
the museum? There you will see Per- 
sian carpets of the most exquisite 
hue and of a pattern the beautiful 
intricacy of which delights and ainazes 
the eye. In them you will see the 



mystery and the sensual beauty of 
the East, the roses of Hafiz and the 
wine-cup of Omar; but presently you 
will see more. You were asking just 
now what was the meaning of life. Go 
and look at those Persian carpets, and 
one of these days the answer will 
come to you." 

"You are cryptic," said Philip. 

"I am drunk," answered Cronshaw. 



XLVI 



Philip did not find living in Paris as 
cheap as he had been led to believe 
and by February had spent most of 
the money with which he started. He 
was too proud to appeal to his guard- 
ian, nor did he wish Aunt Louisa to 
know that his circumstances were 
straitened, since he was certain she 
would make an effort to send him 
something from her own pocket, and 
he knew how little she could afford to. 
In three months he would attain his 
majority and come into possession of 
his small fortune. He tided over the 
interval by selling the few trinkets 
which he had inherited from his fa- 
ther. 

At about this time Lawson sug- 
gested that they should take a small 
studio which was vacant in one of the 
streets that led out of the Boulevard 
Raspail. It was very cheap. It had a 
room attached, which they could use 
as a bed-room; and since Philip was at 
the school every morning Lawson 
could have the undisturbed use of the 
studio then; Lawson, after wander- 
ing from school to school, had come to 
the conclusion that he could work 
best alone, and proposed to get a model 
in three or four days a week. At first 
Philip hesitated on account of the 



expense, but they reckoned it out; 
and it seemed (they were so anxious 
to have a studio of their own that 
they calculated pragmatically) that the 
cost would not be much greater than 
that of living in a hotel. Though the 
rent and the cleaning by the coricierge 
would come to a little more, they 
would save on the petit dejeuner, 
which they could make themselves. 
A year or two earlier Philip would 
have refused to share a room with 
anyone, since he was so sensitive about 
his deformed foot, but his morbid way 
of looking at it was growing less 
marked: in Paris it did not seem to 
matter so much, and, though he never 
by any chance forgot it himself, he 
ceased to feel that other people were 
constantly noticing it. 

They moved in, bought a couple 
of beds, a washing-stand, a few chairs, 
and felt for the first time the thrill 
of possession. They were so excited 
that the first night they went to bed 
in what they could call a home they 
lay awake talking till three in the 
morning; and next day found lighting 
the fire and making their own coffee, 
which they had in pyjamas, such a 
jolly business that Philip did not get 
to Amitrano's till nearly eleven. He 



156 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



was in excellent spirits. He nodded to 
Fanny Price. 

"How are you getting on?" he asked 
cheerily, 

"What does that matter to you?" 
she asked in reply. 

Philip could not help laughing. 

"Don't jump down my throat. I 
was only trying to make myself po- 
hte." 

"I don't want your politeness." 

"D'you think it's worth while quar- 
relling with me too?" asked Philip 
mildly. "There are so few people 
you're on speaking terms with, as it is." 

"That's my business, isn't it?" 

"Quite." 

He began to work, vaguely wonder- 
ing why Fanny Price made herself so 
disagreeable. He had come to the con- 
clusion that he thoroughly disliked 
her. Everyone did. People were only 
civil to her at all from fear of the 
malice of her tongue; for to their 
faces and behind their backs she said 
abominable things. But Philip was 
feeling so happy that he did not want 
even Miss Price to bear ill-feeling to- 
wards him. He used the artifice which 
had often before succeeded in banish- 
ing her ill-humour. 

"I say, I wish you'd come and look 
at my drawing. I've got in an awful 
mess." 

"Thank you very much, but I've 
got something better to do with my 
time." 

Philip stared at her in surprise, for 
the one thing she could be counted 
upon to do with alacrity was to give 
advice. She went on quickly in a low 
voice, savage with fury. 

"Now that Lawson's gone you think 
you'll put up with me. Thank you 
very much. Go and find somebody 
else to help you. I don't want any- 
body else's leavings." 

Lawson had the pedagogic instinct; 



whenever he found anything out he 
was eager to impart it; and because 
he taught with delight he talked with 
profit. Philip, without thinking any- 
thing about it, had got into the habit 
of sitting by his side; it never 
occurred to him that Fanny Price was 
consimied with jealousy, and watched 
his acceptance of someone else's tui- 
tion with ever-increasing anger. 

"You were very glad to put up with 
me when you knew nobody here," she 
said bitterly, "and as soon as you made 
friends with other people you threw 
me aside, like an old glove"— she re- 
peated the stale metaphor with satis- 
faction— "like an old glove. All right, 
I don't care, but I'm not going to 
be made a fool of another time." 

There was a suspicion of truth in 
what she said, and it made Philip 
angry enough to answer what first 
came into his head. 

"Hang it all, I only asked your ad- 
vice because I saw it pleased you." 

She gave a gasp and threw him a 
sudden look of anguish. Then two 
tears rolled down her cheeks. She 
looked frowsy and grotesque. Philip, 
not knowing what on earth this new 
attitude implied, went back to his 
work. He was uneasy and conscience- 
stricken; but he would not go to her 
and say he was sorry if he had caused 
her pain, because he was afraid she 
would take the opportunity to snub 
him. For two or three weeks she did 
not speak to him, and, after Philip 
had got over the discomfort of being 
cut by her, he was somewhat relieved 
to be free from so difficult a friend- 
ship. He had been a little discon- 
certed by the air of proprietorship she 
assumed over him. She was an ex- 
traordinary woman. She came every 
day to the studio at eight o'clock, and 
was ready to start working when the 
model was in position; she worked 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



^57 



steadily, talking to no one, struggling 
hour after hour with difficulties she 
could not overcome, and remained till 
the clock struck twelve. Her work was 
hopeless. There was not in it the small- 
est approach even to the mediocre 
achievement at which most of the 
young persons were able after some 
months to arrive. She wore every day 
the same ugly brown dress, with the 
mud of the last wet day still caked 
on the hem and with the raggedness, 
which Philip had noticed the first 
time he saw her, still unmended. 

But one day she came up to him, 
and with a scarlet face asked whether 
she might speak to him afterwards. 

"Of course, as much as you like," 
smiled Philip. "Fll wait behind at 
twelve." 

He went to her when the day's 
work was over. 

"Will you walk a little bit with me?" 
she said, looking away from him with 
embarrassment. 

"Certainly." 

They walked for two or three min- 
utes in silence. 

"D'you remember what you said to 
me the other day?" she asked then on 
a sudden. 

"Oh, I say, don't let's quarrel," said 
Philip. "It really isn't worth while." 

She gave a quick, painful inspira- 
tion. 

"I don't want to quarrel with you. 
You're the only friend I had in Paris. 
I thought you rather liked me. I felt 
there was something between us. I 
was dravi^n towards you— you know 
what I mean, your club-foot." 

Philip reddened and instinctively 
tried to walk without a limp. He did 
not like anyone to mention the de- 
formity. He knew what Fanny Price 
meant. She was ugly and uncouth, 
and because he was deformed there 
was between them a certain sympathy. 



He was very angry with her, but he 
forced himself not to speak. 

"You said you only asked my ad- 
vice to please me. Don't you think 
my work's any good?" 

"I've only seen your drawing at 
Amitrano's. It's awfully hard to judge 
from that." 

"I was wondering if you'd come 
and look at my other work. I've never 
asked anyone else to look at it. I 
should like to show it to you." 

"It's awfully kind of you. I'd like 
to see it very much." 

"I live quite near here," she said 
apologetically. "It'll only take you ten 
minutes." 

"Oh, that's all right," he said. 

They were walking along the boule- 
vard, and she turned down a side 
street, then led him into another, 
poorer still, with cheap shops on the 
ground floor, and at last stopped. They 
climbed flight after flight of stairs. 
She unlocked a door, and they went 
into a tiny attic with a sloping roof 
and a small window. This was closed 
and the room had a musty smell. 
Though it was very cold there was 
no fire and no sign that there had 
been one. The bed was unmade. A 
chair, a chest of drawers which served 
also as a wash-stand, and a cheap easel, 
were all the furniture. The place 
would have been squalid enough in 
any case, but the litter, the untidiness, 
made the impression revolting. On 
the chimneypiece, scattered over with 
paints and brushes, were a cup, a dirty 
plate, and a tea-pot. 

"If you'll stand over there I'll put 
them on the chair so that you can see 
them better." 

She showed him twenty small can- 
vases, about eighteen by twelve. She 
placed them on the chair, one after 
the other, watching his face; he 



158 

nodded as he looked at each one. 

"You do Hke them, don't you?" she 
said anxiously, after a bit. 

"I just want to look at them all 
first," he answered. "Fll talk after- 
wards." 

He was collecting himself. He was 
panic-stricken. He did not know what 
to say. It was not only that they 
were ill-drawn, or that the colour was 
put on amateurishly by someone who 
had no eye for it; but there was no 
attempt at getting the values, and the 
perspective was grotesque. It looked 
like the work of a child of five, 
but a child would have had some 
naivete and might at least have made 
an attempt to put down what he saw; 
but here was the work of a vulgar 
mind chock full of recollections of 
vulgar pictures. Philip remembered 
that she had talked enthusiastically 
about Monet and the Impressionists, 
but here were only the worst traditions 
of the Royal Academy. 

"There," she said at last, "that's the 
lot." 

PhiHp was no more truthful than 
anybody else, but he had a great 
difficulty in telling a thundering, de- 
liberate lie, and he blushed furiously 
when he answered: 

"I think they're most awfully good." 

A faint colour came into her un- 
healthy cheeks, and she smiled a little. 

"You needn't say so if you don't 
think so, you know. I want the truth." 

"But I do think so." 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"Haven't you got any criticism to 
offer? There must be some you don't 
like as well as others." 

Philip looked round helplessly. He 
saw a landscape, the typical pictur- 
esque 'bit' of the amateur, an old 
bridge, a creeper-clad cottage, and a 
leafy bank. 

"Of course I don't pretend to know 
anything about it," he said. "But I 
wasn't quite sure about the values of 
that." 

She flushed darldy and taking up 
the picture quickly turned its back 
to him. 

"I don't know why you should 
have chosen that one to sneer at. It's 
the best thing I've ever done. I'm sure 
my values are all right. That's a thing 
you can't teach anyone, you either 
understand values or you don't." 

"I think they're all most awfully 
good," repeated Philip. 

She looked at them with an air of 
self-satisfaction. 

"I don't think they're anything to 
be ashamed of." 

Philip looked at his watch. 

"I say, it's getting late. Won't you 
let me give you a little lunch?" 

"I've got my lunch waiting for me 
here." 

Philip saw no sign of it, but sup- 
posed perhaps the concierge would 
bring it up when he was gone. He 
was in a hurry to get away. The 
mustiness of the room made his head 
ache. 



XLVII 



In March there was all the excite- 
ment of sending in to the Salon. Glut- 
ton, characteristically, had nothing 
ready, and he was very scornful of 
the two heads that Lawson sent; they 



were obviously the work of a student, 
straight-forward portraits of models, 
but they had a certain force; Glutton, 
aiming at perfection, had no patience 
with efforts which betrayed hesitancy, 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



159 



and with a shrug of the shoulders 
told Lawson it was an impertinence 
to exhibit stuff which should never 
have been allowed out of his studio; 
he was not less contemptuous when 
the two heads were accepted. Flana- 
gan tried his luck too, but his picture 
was refused. Mrs. Otter sent a blame- 
less Portrait de ma Mere, accom- 
plished and second-rate; and was hung 
in a very good place. 

Hayward, whom Philip had 
not seen since he left Heidelberg, ar- 
rived in Paris to spend a few days in 
time to come to the party which Law- 
son and Philip were giving in their 
studio to celebrate the hanging of Law- 
son's pictures. Philip had been eager 
to see Hayward again, but when at 
last they met, he experienced some 
disappointment. Hayward had altered 
a Httle in appearance: his fine hair 
was thinner, and with the rapid wilt- 
ing of the very fair, he was becoming 
wizened and colourless; his blue eyes 
were paler than they had been, and 
there was a muzziness about his fea- 
tures. On the other hand, in mind he 
did not seem to have changed at all, 
and the culture which had impressed 
Philip at eighteen aroused somewhat 
the contempt of Philip at twenty-one. 
He had altered a good deal himself, 
and regarding with scorn all his old 
opinions of art, life, and letters, had 
no patience with anyone who still held 
them. He was scarcely conscious of 
the fact that he wanted to show off 
before Hayward, but when he took 
him round the galleries he poured 
out to him all the revolutionary opin- 
ions which himself had so recently 
adopted. He took him to Manet's 
Olympia and said dramatically: 

"I would give all the old masters 
except Velasquez, Rembrandt, and 
Vermeer for that one picture." 

"Who was Vermeer?" asked Hay- 
ward. 



"Oh, my dear fellow, don't you 
know Vermeer r* You're not civilised. 
You mustn't live a moment longer 
without making his acquaintance. He's 
the one old master who painted like a 
modern." 

He dragged Hayward out of the 
Luxembourg and hurried him off to 
the Louvre. 

"But aren't there any more pictures 
here?" asked Hayward, with the tour- 
ist's passion for thoroughness. 

"Nothing of the least consequence. 
You can come and look at them by 
yourself with your Baedeker." 

V^en they arrived at the Louvre 
Philip led his friend down the Long 
Gallery. 

"I should hke to see The 
Gioconda," said Hayward. 

"Oh, my dear fellow, it's only lit- 
erature," answered Philip. 

At last, in a small room, PhiHp 
stopped before The Lacemaker of 
Vermeer van Delft. 

"There, that's the best picture in 
the Louvre. It's exactly Hke a Manet." 

With an expressive, eloquent thumb 
Philip expatiated on the charming 
work. He used the jargon of the 
studios with overpowering effect. 

"I don't know that I see anything 
so wonderful as all that in it," said 
Hayward. 

"Of course it's a painter's picture," 
said Philip. "I can quite believe the lay- 
man would see nothing much in it." 

"The what?" said Hayv^^ard. 

"The layman." 

Like most people who cultivate an 
interest in the arts, Hayward was ex- 
tremely anxious to be right. He was 
dogmatic with those who did not ven- 
ture to assert themselves, but with the 
self-assertive he was very modest. He 
was impressed by Philip's assurance, 
and accepted meekly Philip's implied 
suggestion that the painter's arrogant 
claim to be the sole possible judge 



i6o 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



of painting has anything but its im- 
pertinence to recommend it. 

A day or two later Philip and 
Lawson gave their party. Cronshaw, 
making an exception in their favour, 
agreed to eat their food; and Miss 
Chalice offered to come and cook 
for them. She took no interest in her 
own sex and declined the suggestion 
that other girls should be asked for 
her sake. Glutton, Flanagan, Potter, 
and two others made up the party. 
Furniture was scarce, so the model 
stand was used as a table, and the 
guests were to sit on portmanteaux if 
they liked, and if they didn't on the 
floor. The feast consisted of a pot- 
au-feu, which Miss Chalice had made, 
of a leg of mutton roasted round the 
corner and brought round hot and sa- 
voury (Miss Chalice had cooked the 
potatoes, and the studio was redolent 
of the carrots she had fried; fried 
carrots were her specialty); and this 
was to be followed by poires flamhees, 
pears with burning brandy, which 
Cronshaw had volunteered to make. 
The meal was to finish with an enor- 
mous fromage de Brie, which stood 
near the vidndow and added fragrant 
odours to all the others which filled 
the studio. Cronshaw sat in the place 
of honour on a Gladstone bag, with 
his legs curled under him like a Turk- 
ish bashaw, beaming good-naturedly 
on the young people who surrounded 
him. From force of habit, though the 
small studio with the stove lit was 
very hot, he kept on his great-coat, 
with the collar turned up, and his 
bowler hat: he looked with satisfac- 
tion on the four large fiaschi of 
Chianti which stood in front of him 
in a row, two on each side of a bottle 
of whiskey; he said it reminded him of 
a slim fair Circassian guarded by four 
corpulent eunuchs. Hayward in or- 
der to put the rest of them at their 
ease had clothed himself in a tweed 



suit and a Trinity Hall tie. He looked 
grotesquely British. The others were 
elaborately polite to him, and during 
the soup they talked of the weather 
and the political situation. There was 
a pause while they waited for the leg 
of mutton, and Miss Chalice lit a 
cigarette. 

"Rampunzel, Rampunzel, let down 
your hair," she said suddenly. 

With an elegant gesture she untied 
a ribbon so that her tresses fell over 
her shoulders. She shook her head. 

"I always feel more comfortable 
with my hair down." 

With her large brown eyes, thin, 
ascetic face, her pale skin, and broad 
forehead, she might have stepped out 
of a picture by Burne-Jones. She had 
long, beautiful hands, with fingers 
deeply stained by nicotine. She wore 
sweeping draperies, mauve and green. 
There was about her the romantic 
air of High Street, Kensington. She 
was wantonly aesthetic; but she was 
an excellent creature, kind and good 
natured; and her afl^ectations were but 
skin-deep. There was a knock at the 
door, and they all gave a shout of 
exultation. Miss Chalice rose and 
opened. She took the leg of mutton 
and held it high above her, as though 
it were the head of John the Baptist 
on a platter; and, the cigarette still 
in her mouth, advanced with solemn, 
hieratic steps. 

"Hail, daughter of Herodias," cried 
Cronshaw. 

The mutton was eaten with gusto, 
and it did one good to see what a 
hearty appetite the pale-faced lady 
had. Glutton and Potter sat on each 
side of her, and everyone knew that 
neither had found her unduly coy. 
She grew tired of most people in six 
weeks, but she knew exactly how to 
treat afterwards the gentlemen who 
had laid their young hearts at her 
feet. She bore them no ill-will, though 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



l6l 



having loved them she had ceased to 
do so, and treated them with friendH- 
ness but without famiHarity. Now and 
then she looked at Lawson with mel- 
ancholy eyes. The poires flamhees 
were a great success, partly because 
of the brandy, and partly because 
Miss Chalice insisted that they 
should be eaten with the cheese. 

"I don't know whether it's per- 
fectly delicious, or whether Fm just 
going to vomit," she said, after she 
had thoroughly tried the mixture. 

CofiFee and cognac followed with 
sufficient speed to prevent any un- 
toward consequence, and they set- 
tled down to smoke in comfort. Ruth 
Chalice, who could do nothing that 
was not deliberately artistic, arranged 
herself in a graceful attitude by Cron- 
shaw and just rested her exquisite 
head on his shoulder. She looked 
into the dark abyss of time with brood- 
ing eyes, and now and then with a 
long meditative glance at Lawson she 
sighed deeply. 

Then came the summer, and 
restlessness seized these young people. 
The blue skies lured them to the sea, 
and the pleasant breeze sighing 
through the leaves of the plane-trees 
on the boulevard drew them towards 
the country. Everyone made plans for 
leaving Paris; they discussed what was 
the most suitable size for the canvases 
they meant to take; they laid in stores 
of panels for sketching; they argued 
about the merits of various places in 
Brittany. Flanagan and Potter went 
to Concarneau; Mrs. Otter and her 
mother, with a natural instinct for 
the obvious, went to Pont-Aven; 
Philip and Lawson made up their 
minds to go to the forest of Fontaine- 
bleau, and Miss Chalice knew of a 
very good hotel at Moret where 
there was lots of stuff to paint; it was 
near Paris, and neither Philip nor 



Lawson was indifferent to the rail- 
way fare. Ruth Chalice would be 
there, and Lawson had an idea for a 
portrait of her in the open air. Just 
then the Salon was full of portraits 
of people in gardens, in sunlight, with 
blinking eyes and green reflections of 
sunlit leaves on their faces. They 
asked Clutton to go with them, but 
he preferred spending the summer by 
himself. He had just discovered 
Cezanne, and was eager to go to Pro- 
vence; he wanted heavy skies from 
which the hot blue seemed to drip 
like beads of sweat, and broad white 
dusty roads, and pale roofs out of 
which the sun had burnt the colour, 
and olive trees gray with heat. 

The day before they were to start, 
after the morning class, Philip, putting 
his things together, spoke to Fanny 
Price. 

'Tm off tomorrow," he said cheer- 
fully. 

"Off where?" she said quickly. 
"You're not going away?" Her face 
fell. 

*Tm going away for the summer. 
Aren't you?" 

"No, I'm staying in Paris. I thought 
you were going to stay too. I was 
looking forward. ..." 

She stopped and shrugged her 
shoulders. 

"But won't it be frightfully hot 
here? It's awfully bad for you." 

"Much you care if it's bad for me. 
Where are you going?" 

"Moret." 

"Chalice is going there. You're 
not going with her?" 

"Lawson and I are going. And she's 
going there too. I don't know that 
we're actually going together." 

She gave a low guttural sound, and 
her large face grew dark and red. 

"How filthy! I thought you were a 
decent fellow. You were about the 
only one here. She's been with Clut- 



1 62 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



ton and Potter and Flanagan, even 
with old Foinet— that's why he takes 
so much trouble about her— and now 
two of you, you and Lawson. It 
makes me sick." 

*'Oh, what nonsense! She's a very 
decent sort. One treats her just as if 
she were a man." 

"Oh, don't speak to me, don't speak 
to me." 

"But what can it matter to you?" 
asked Philip. "It's really no business 
of yours where I spend my summer." 

"I was looking forward to it so 
much," she gasped, speaking it seemed 
almost to herself. "I didn't think you 
had the money to go away, and there 
wouldn't have been anyone else here, 
and we could have worked together, 
and we'd have gone to see things." 
Then her thoughts flung back to Ruth 
Chalice. "The filthy beast," she cried. 
"She isn't fit to speak to." 

Philip looked at her with a sinking 
heart. He was not a man to think 
girls were in love with him; he was 
too conscious of his deformity, and 
he felt awkward and clumsy with 
women; but he did not know what 
else this outburst could mean. Fanny 
Price, in the dirty brown dress, with 
her hair falling over her face, sloppy, 
untidy, stood before him; and tears 
of anger rolled down her cheeks. She 
was repellent. Philip glanced at the 
door, instinctively hoping that some- 
one would come in and put an end 
to the scene. 

"I'm awfully sorry," he said. 

"You're just the same as all of them. 
You take all you can get, and you 
don't even say thank you. I've taught 
you everything you know. No one else 
would take any trouble with you. Has 
Foinet ever bothered about you? And 
I can tell you this— you can work here 
for a thousand years and you'll never 
do any good. You haven't got any 
talent. You haven't got any originality. 



And it's not only me— they all say it. 
You'll never be a painter as long as 
you live." 

"That is no business of yours either, 
is it?" said Philip, flushing. 

"Oh, you think it's only my temper. 
Ask Glutton, ask Lawson, ask Chal- 
ice. Never, never, never. You haven't 
got it in you." 

Philip shrugged his shoulders and 
walked out. She shouted after him. 

"Never, never, never." 

Moret was in those days an old- 
fashioned town of one street at the 
edge of the forest of Fontainebleau, 
and the Ecu d'Or was a hotel which 
still had about it the decrepit air of 
the Ancien Regime. It faced the wind- 
ing river, the Loing; and Miss ChaHce 
had a room with a little terrace over- 
looking it, with a charming view of 
the old bridge and its fortified gate- 
way. They sat here in the evenings 
after dinner, drinking coffee, smoking, 
and discussing art. There ran into the 
river, a little way off, a narrow canal 
bordered by poplars, and along the 
banks of this after their day's work 
they often wandered. They spent all 
day painting. Like most of their gen- 
eration they were obsessed by the fear 
of the picturesque, and they turned 
their backs on the obvious beauty of 
the town to seek subjects which were 
devoid of a prettiness they despised. 
Sisley and Monet had painted the 
canal with its poplars, and they felt 
a desire to try their hands at what 
was so typical of France; but they 
were frightened of its formal beauty, 
and set themselves deliberately to 
avoid it. Miss ChaHce, who had a 
clever dexterity which impressed Law- 
son notwithstanding his contempt for 
feminine art, started a picture in 
which she tried to circumvent the com- 
monplace by leaving out the tops of 
the trees; and Lawson had the brilHant 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



163 



idea of putting in his foreground a 
large blue advertisement of chocolat 
Menier in order to emphasise his ab- 
horrence of the chocolate box. 

Philip began now to paint in oils. 
He experienced a thrill of delight 
when first he used that grateful me- 
dium. He went out with Lawson in 
the morning with his little box and 
sat by him painting a panel; it gave 
him so much satisfaction that he did 
not reahse he was doing no more than 
copy; he was so much under his 
friend's influence that he saw only 
with his eyes. Lawson painted very 
low in tone, and they both saw the 
emerald of the grass like dark velvet, 
while the brilliance of the sky turned 
in their hands to a brooding ultra- 
marine. Through July they had one 
fine day after another; it was very hot; 
and the heat, searing Philip's heart, 
filled him with languor; he could not 
work; his mind was eager with a thou- 
sand thoughts. Often he spent the 
mornings by the side of the canal in 
the shade of the poplars, reading a few 
lines and then dreaming for half an 
hour. Sometimes he hired a rickety bi- 
cycle and rode along the dusty road 
that led to the forest, and then lay 
down in a clearing. His head was full 
of romantic fancies. The ladies of 
Watteau, gay and insouciant, seemed 
to wander with their cavaliers among 
the great trees, whispering to one 
another careless, charming things, and 
yet somehow oppressed by a nameless 
fear. 

They were alone in the hotel but 
for a fat Frenchwoman of middle age, 
a Rabelaisian figure with a broad, ob- 
scene laugh. She spent the day by the 
river patiently fishing for fish she 
never caught, and Philip sometimes 
went down and talked to her. He 
found out that she had belonged to a 
profession whose most notorious mem- 
ber for our generation was Mrs. War- 



ren, and having made a competence 
she now lived the quiet life of the 
hourgeoise. She told Philip lewd 
stories. 

"You must go to Seville," she said- 
she spoke a little broken English. 
"The most beautiful women in the 
world." 

She leered and nodded her head. 
Her triple chin, her large belly, shook 
with inward laughter. 

It grew so hot that it was almost 
impossible to sleep at night. The heat 
seemed to linger under the trees as 
though it were a material thing. They 
did not vdsh to leave the starlit night, 
and the three of them would sit on 
the terrace of Ruth Chalice's room, 
silent, hour after hour, too tired to 
talk any more, but in voluptuous en- 
joyment of the stillness. They listened 
to the murmur of the river. The 
church clock struck one and two and 
sometimes three before they could 
drag themselves to bed. Suddenly 
Philip became aware that Ruth Chal- 
ice and Lawson were lovers. He di- 
vined it in the way the girl looked 
at the young painter, and in his air 
of possession; and as Philip sat with 
them he felt a kind of effluence sur- 
rounding them, as though the air were 
heavy with something strange. The 
revelation was a shock. He had looked 
upon Miss Chalice as a very good 
fellow and he liked to talk to her, 
but it had never seemed to him pos- 
sible to enter into a closer relationship. 
One Sunday they had all gone with a 
tea-basket into the forest, and when 
they came to a glade which was suit- 
ably sylvan, Miss Chalice, because it 
was idyllic, insisted on taking off her 
shoes and stockings. It would have 
been very charming only her feet were 
rather large and she had on both a 
large corn on the third toe. Philip felt 
it made her proceeding a little ridicu- 
lous. But now he looked upon her 



164 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



quite differently; there was some- 
thing softly feminine in her large eyes 
and her olive skin; he felt himself a 
fool not to have seen that she was 
attractive. He thought he detected in 
her a touch of contempt for him, be- 
cause he had not had the sense to see 
that she was there, in his way, and in 
Lawson a suspicion of superiority. He 
was envious of Lawson, and he was 
jealous, not of the individual con- 
cerned, but of his love. He wished 
that he was standing in his shoes and 
feehng with his heart. He was 
troubled, and the fear seized him that 
love would pass him by. He wanted 
a passion to seize him, he wanted to be 
swept off his feet and borne powerless 
in a mighty rush he cared not whither. 
Miss Chalice and Lawson seemed to 
him now somehow different, and the 
constant companionship with them 
made him restless. He was dissatisfied 
with himself. Life was not giving him 
what he wanted, and he had an un- 
easy feeling that he was losing his 
time. 

The stout Frenchwoman soon 
guessed what the relations were be- 
tween the couple, and talked of the 
matter to Philip with the utmost frank- 
ness. 

"And you," she said, with the tol- 
erant smile of one who had fattened 
on the lust of her fellows, "have you 
got a petite amie?" 

"No," said Philip, blushing. 

"And why not? C'est de votre age." 

He shrugged his shoulders. He had 
a volume of Verlaine in his hands, and 
he wandered off. He tried to read, but 
his passion was too strong. He thought 
of the stray amours to which he had 
been introduced by Flanagan, the sly 
visits to houses in a cul-de-sac, with 



the drawing-room in Utrecht velvet, 
and the mercenary graces of painted 
women. He shuddered. He threw him- 
self on the grass, stretching his limbs 
like a young animal freshly awaked 
from sleep; and the rippling water, the 
poplars gently tremulous in the faint 
breeze, the blue sky, were almost more 
than he could bear. He was in love 
with love. In his fancy he felt the 
kiss of warm lips on his, and around 
his neck the touch of soft hands. He 
imagined himself in the arms of Ruth 
Chalice, he thought of her dark 
eyes and the wonderful texture of her 
skin; he was mad to have let such a 
wonderful adventure slip through his 
fingers. And if Lawson had done it 
why should not he? But this was only 
when he did not see her, when he 
lay awake at night or dreamed idly 
by the side of the canal; when he 
saw her he felt suddenly quite 
different; he had no desire to take her 
in his arms, and he could not imagine 
himself kissing her. It was very 
curious. Away from her he thought 
her beautiful, remembering only her 
magnificent eyes and the creamy pal- 
lor of her face; but when he was with 
her he saw only that she was flat- 
chested and that her teeth were 
slightly decayed; he could not forget 
the corns on her toes. He could not 
understand himself. Would he always 
love only in absence and be prevented 
from enjoying anything when he had 
the chance by that deformity of vision 
which seemed to exaggerate the re- 
volting? 

He was not sorry when a change in 
the weather, announcing the definite 
end of the long summer, drove them 
all back to Paris. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



165 



XLVIII 



When Philip returned to Amitrano's 
he found that Fanny Price was no 
longer working there. She had given 
up the key of her locker. He asked 
Mrs. Otter whether she knew what 
had become of her; and Mrs. Otter, 
with a shrug of the shoulders, 
answered that she had probably gone 
back to England. Philip was relieved. 
He was profoundly bored by her ill- 
temper. Moreover she insisted on ad- 
vising him about his work, looked 
upon it as a slight when he did not 
follow her precepts, and would not 
understand that he felt himself no 
longer the duffer he had been at first. 
Soon he forgot all about her. He was 
working in oils now and he was full of 
enthusiasm. He hoped to have some- 
thing done of sufficient importance to 
send to the following year's Salon. 
Lawson was painting a portrait of 
Miss Chalice. She was very paintable, 
and all the young men who had fallen 
victims to her charm had made por- 
traits of her. A natural indolence, 
joined with a passion for picturesque 
attitude, made her an excellent sitter; 
and she had enough technical knowl- 
edge to offer useful criticisms. Since 
her passion for art was chiefly a pas- 
sion to live the life of artists, she was 
quite content to neglect her own work. 
She liked the warmth of the studio, 
and the opportunity to smoke innu- 
merable cigarettes; and she spoke in a 
low, pleasant voice of the love of art 
and the art of love. She made no 
clear distinction between the two. 

Lawson was painting with infinite 
labour, working till he could hardly 
stand for days and then scraping out 



all he had done. He would have ex- 
hausted the patience of anyone but 
Ruth Chalice. At last he got into a 
hopeless muddle. 

"The only thing is to take a new 
canvas and start fresh," he said. "I 
know exactly what I want now, and it 
won't take me long." 

Philip was present at the time, and 
Miss Chalice said to him: 

"Why don't you paint me too? 
You'll be able to learn a lot by watch- 
ing Mr. Lawson," 

It was one of Miss Chalice's delica- 
cies that she always addressed her 
lovers by their surnames. 

"I should like it awfully if Lawson 
wouldn't mind." 

"I don't care a damn," said Lawson. 

It was the first time that Philip set 
about a portrait, and he began with 
trepidation but also with pride. He sat 
by Lawson and painted as he saw him 
paint. He profited by the example and 
by the advice which both Lawson and 
Miss Chalice freely gave him. At last 
Lawson finished and invited Clutton 
in to criticise. Clutton had only just 
come back to Paris. From Provence 
he had drifted down to Spain, eager 
to see Velasquez at Madrid, and 
thence he had gone to Toledo. He 
stayed there three months, and he was 
returned with a name new to the 
young men: he had wonderful things 
to say of a painter called El Greco, 
who it appeared could only be studied 
in Toledo. 

"Oh yes, I know about him," said 
Lawson, "he's the old master whose 
distinction it is that he painted as 
badly as the moderns." 



i66 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Glutton, more taciturn than ever, 
did not answer, but he looked at Law- 
son with a sardonic air. 

"Are you going to show us the stuff 
you've brought back from Spain?" 
asked Philip. 

"I didn't paint in Spain, I was too 
busy." 

"What did you do then?" 

"I thought things out. I believe I'm 
through with the Impressionists; I've 
got an idea they'll seem very thin and 
superficial in a few years. I want to 
make a clean sweep of everything I've 
learnt and start fresh. When I came 
back I destroyed everything I'd 
painted. I've got nothing in my studio 
now but an easel, my paints, and 
some clean canvases." 

"What are you going to do?" 

"I don't know yet. I've only got an 
inkling of what I want." 

He spoke slowly, in a curious man- 
ner, as though he were straining to 
hear something which was only just 
audible. There seemed to be a mys- 
terious force in him which he himself 
did not understand, but which was 
struggling obscurely to find an outlet. 
His strength impressed you. Lawson 
dreaded the criticism he asked for and 
had discounted the blame he thought 
he might get by affecting a contempt 
for any opinion of Glutton's; but 
Philip knew there was nothing which 
would give him more pleasure than 
Glutton's praise. Glutton looked at the 
portrait for some time in silence, then 
glanced at Philip's picture, which was 
standing on an easel. 

"What's that?" he asked. 

"Oh, I had a shot at a portrait too." 

"The sedulous ape," he murmured. 

He turned away again to Lawson's 
canvas. Philip reddened but did not 
speak. 

"Well, what d'you think of it?" 
asked Lawson at length. 

"The modelling's jolly good," said 



Glutton. "And I think it's very well 
drawn." 

"D'you think the values are all 
right?" 

"Quite.'' 

Lawson smiled with delight. He 
shook himself in his clothes hke a wet 
dog. 

"I say, I'm jolly glad you like it." 

"I don't. I don't think it's of the 
smallest importance." 

Lawson's face fell, and he stared 
at Glutton with astonishment: he had 
no notion what he meant. Glutton had 
no gift of expression in words, and he 
spoke as though it were an effort. 
What he had to say was confused, 
halting, and verbose; but Philip knew 
the words which served as the text of 
his rambling discourse. Glutton, who 
never read, had heard them first from 
Gronshaw; and though they had made 
small impression, they had remained 
in his memory; and lately, emerging 
on a sudden, had acquired the char- 
acter of a revelation: a good painter 
had two chief objects to paint, namely, 
man and the intention of his soul. 
The Impressionists had been oc- 
cupied with other problems, they had 
painted man admirably, but they had 
troubled themselves as little as the 
English portrait painters of the eight- 
eenth century with the intention of 
his soul. 

"But when you try to get that you 
become literary," said Lawson, inter- 
rupting. "Let me paint the man like 
Manet, and the intention of his soul 
can go to the devil." 

"That would be all very well if you 
could beat Manet at his own game, 
but you can't get anywhere near him. 
You can't feed yourself on the day 
before yesterday, it's ground which 
has been swept dry. You must go 
back. It's when I saw the Grecos that 
I felt one could get something more 
out of portraits than we knew before." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



167 



"It's just going back to Ruskin," 
cried Lawson. 

"No— you see, he went for morality: 
I don't care a damn for morality: 
teaching doesn't come in, ethics and 
all that, but passion and emotion. The 
greatest portrait painters have painted 
both, man and the intention of his 
soul; Rembrandt and El Greco; it's 
only the second-raters who've only 
painted man. A Hly of the valley 
would be lovely even if it didn't smell, 
but it's more lovely because it has 
perfume. That picture"— he pointed 
to Lawson's portrait— "Well, the draw- 
ing's all right and so's the modelling 
all right, but just conventional; it 
ought to be drawn and modelled so 
that you know the girl's a lousy slut. 
Correctness is all very well: El Greco 
made his people eight feet high be- 
cause he wanted to express something 
he couldn't get any other way." 

"Damn El Greco," said Lawson, 
"what's the good of jawing about a 
man when we haven't a chance of see- 
ing any of his work?" 

Glutton shrugged his shoulders, 
smoked a cigarette in silence, and 
went away. Philip and Lawson looked 
at one another. 

"There's something in what he 
says," said Philip. 

Lawson stared ill-temperedly at his 
picture. 

"How the devil is one to get the 
intention of the soul except by paint- 
ing exactly what one sees?" 

About this time Philip made a new 
friend. On Monday morning models 
assembled at the school in order that 
one might be chosen for the week, and 
one day a young man was taken who 
was plainly not a model by profession. 
Philip's attention was attracted by the 
manner in which he held himself: 
when he got on to the stand he stood 
firmly on both feet, square, with 



clenched hands, and with his head 
defiantly thrown forward; the attitude 
emphasised his fine figure; there was 
no fat on him, and his muscles stood 
out as though they were of iron. His 
head, close-cropped, was well-shaped, 
and he wore a short beard; he had 
large, dark eyes and heavy eyebrows. 
He held the pose hour after hour 
vdthout appearance of fatigue. There 
was in his mien a mixture of shame 
and of determination. His air of pas- 
sionate energy excited Philip's roman- 
tic imagination, and when, the sitting 
ended, he saw him in his clothes, it 
seemed to him that he wore them as 
though he were a king in rags. He 
was uncommunicative, but in a day 
or two Mrs. Otter told Philip that the 
model was a Spaniard and that he had 
never sat before. 

"I suppose he was starving," said 
Philip. 

"Have you noticed his clothes? 
They're quite neat and decent, aren't 
they?" 

It chanced that Potter, one of the 
Americans who worked at Amitrano's, 
was going to Italy for a couple of 
months, and offered his studio to 
Philip. Philip was pleased. He was 
growing a httle impatient of Lawson's 
peremptory advice and wanted to be 
by himself. At the end of the week 
he went up to the model and on the 
pretence that his drawing was not fin- 
ished asked whether he would come 
and sit to him one day. 

"I'm not a model," the Spaniard an- 
swered. "I have other things to do 
next week." 

"Come and have luncheon with 
me now, and we'll talk about it," said 
PhiHp, and as the other hesitated, he 
added with a smile: "It won't hurt 
you to lunch with me." 

With a shrug of the shoulders the 
model consented, and they went off 
to a cremerie. The Spaniard spoke 



i68 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



broken French, fluent but difficult to 
follow, and Philip managed to get on 
well enough with him. He found out 
that he was a writer. He had come to 
Paris to write novels and kept himself 
meanwhile by all the expedients pos- 
sible to a penniless man: he gave les- 
sons, he did any translations he could 
get hold of, chiefly business docu- 
ments, and at last had been driven to 
make money by his fine figure. Sitting 
was well paid, and what he had earned 
during the last week was enough to 
keep him for two more; he told 
Philip, amazed, that he could live 
easily on two francs a day; but it 
filled him with shame that he was 
obliged to show his body for money, 
and he looked upon sitting as a deg- 
radation which only hunger could ex- 
cuse. Philip explained that he did not 
want him to sit for the figure, but only 
for the head; he wished to do a portrait 
of him which he might send to the 
next Salon. 

"But why should you want to paint 
me?" asked the Spaniard. 

Phihp answered that the head in- 
terested him, he thought he could do 
a good portrait. 

"I can't afford the time. I grudge 
every minute that I have to rob from 
my writing." 

"But it would only be in the aft- 
ernoon. I work at the school in the 
morning. After all, it's better to sit to 
me than to do translations of legal 
documents." 

There were legends in the Latin 
Quarter of a time when students of 
different countries lived together in- 
timately, but this was long since 
passed, and now the various nations 
were almost as much separated as in 
an Oriental city. At Julian's and at the 
Beaux Arts a French student was 
looked upon with disfavour by his 
fellow-countrymen when he consorted 
with foreigners, and it was difficult for 



an Englishman to know more than 
quite superficially any native inhabit- 
ants of the city in which he dwelt. In- 
deed, many of the students after living 
in Paris for five years knew no more 
French than served them in shops 
and lived as English a life as though 
they were working in South Kensing- 
ton. 

Philip, with his passion for the 
romantic, welcomed the opportunity to 
get in touch with a Spaniard; he used 
all his persuasiveness to overcome the 
man's reluctance. 

"I'll tell you what I'll do," said the 
Spaniard at last. "I'll sit to you, but 
not for money, for my own pleasure." 

Philip expostulated, but the other 
was firm, and at length they arranged 
that he should come on the following 
Monday at one o'clock. He gave 
Philip a card on which was printed his 
name: Miguel Ajuria, 

Miguel sat regularly, and though 
he refused to accept payment he bor- 
rowed fifty francs from Philip every 
now and then: it was a little more 
expensive than if Philip had paid for 
the sittings in the usual way; but gave 
the Spaniard a satisfactory feeling that 
he was not earning his living in a 
degrading manner. His nationality 
made Philip regard him as a repre- 
sentative of romance, and he asked 
him about Seville and Granada, Velas- 
quez and Calderon. But Miguel had 
no patience with the grandeur of his 
country. For him, as for so many of 
his compatriots, France was the only 
country for a man of intelligence and 
Paris the centre of the world. 

"Spain is dead," he cried. "It has 
no writers, it has no art, it has noth- 
ing." 

Little by little, with the exuberant 
rhetoric of his race, he revealed his 
ambitions. He was writing a novel 
which he hoped would make his 
name. He was under the influence of , 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



Zola, and he had set his scene in 
Paris. He told Philip the story at 
length. To Philip it seemed crude and 
stupid; the naive obscenity— c est la vie, 
mon cher, c'est la vie, he cried— the 
naive obscenity served only to em- 
phasise the conventionality of the 
anecdote. He had written for two 
years, amid incredible hardships, 
denying himself all the pleasures of 
life which had attracted him to Paris, 
fighting with starvation for art's sake, 
determined that nothing should hinder 
his great achievement. The effort was 
heroic. 

"But why don't you write about 
Spain?" cried Philip. "It would be so 
much more interesting. You know the 
life." 

"But Paris is the only place worth 
writing about. Paris is life." 

One day he brought part of the 
manuscript, and in his bad French, 
translating excitedly as he went along 
so that Philip could scarcely under- 
stand, he read passages. It was lamen- 
table. Philip, puzzled, looked at the 
picture he was painting: the mind be- 
hind that broad brow was trivial; and 
the flashing, passionate eyes saw noth- 
ing in life but the obvious. Philip was 
not satisfied with his portrait, and at 
the end of a sitting he nearly always 
scraped out what he had done. It was 
all very well to aim at the intention 
of the soul: who could tell what that 
was when people seemed a mass of 
contradictions? He Hked Miguel, and 
it distressed him to realise that his 
magnificent struggle was futile; he 
had everything to make a good writer 
but talent. Philip looked at his own 
work. How could you tell whether 
there was anything in it or whether 
you were wasting your time? It was 
clear that the will to achieve could 
not help you and confidence in your- 
self meant nothing. Philip thought of 
Fanny Price; she had a vehement be- 



169 

hef in her talent; her strength of will 
was extraordinary. 

"If I thought I wasn't going to be 
really good, I'd rather give up paint- 
ing," said Philip. "I don't see any use 
in being a second-rate painter." 

Then one morning when he was 
going out, the concierge called out 
to him that there was a letter. Nobody 
wrote to him but his Aunt Louisa and 
sometimes Hayward, and this was a 
handwriting he did not know. The 
letter was as follows: 

Please come at once when you get 
this. 1 couldn't put up with it any 
more. Please come yourself. 1 can't 
hear the thought that anyone else 
should touch me. I want you to have 
everything. 

F. Price. 

1 have not had anything to eat for 
three days. 

Philip felt on a sudden sick with 
fear. He hurried to the house in which 
she lived. He was astonished that she 
was in Paris at all. He had not seen 
her for months and imagined she had 
long since returned to England. When 
he arrived he asked the concierge 
whether she was in. 

"Yes, I've not seen her go out for 
two days." 

Philip ran upstairs and knocked at 
the door. There was no reply. He 
called her name. The door was locked, 
and on bending down he found the 
key was in the lock. 

"Oh, my God, I hope she hasn't 
done something awful," he cried 
aloud. 

He ran down and told the porter 
that she was certainly in the room. 
He had had a letter from her and 
feared a terrible accident. He sug- 
gested breaking open the door. The 
porter, who had been sullen and dis- 
inclined to listen, became alarmed; he 



170 

could not take the responsibility of 
breaking into the room; they must go 
for the commissaire de police. They 
walked together to the bureau, and 
then they fetched a locksmith. Philip 
found that Miss Price had not paid 
the last quarter's rent: on New Year's 
Day she had not given the concierge 
the present which old-established cus- 
tom led him to regard as a right. The 
four of them went upstairs, and they 
knocked again at the door. There 
was no reply. The locksmith set to 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



work, and at last they entered the 
room. Philip gave a cry and instinc- 
tively covered his eyes with his hands. 
The wretched woman was hanging 
with a rope round her neck, which 
she had tied to a hook in the ceiling 
fixed by some previous tenant to hold 
up the curtains of the bed. She had 
moved her own little bed out of the 
way and had stood on a chair, which 
had been kicked away. It was lying 
on its side on the floor. They cut her 
down. The body was quite cold. 



XLIX 



The story which Philip made out in 
one way and another was terrible. One 
of the grievances of the women-stu- 
dents was that Fanny Price would 
never share their gay meals in restau- 
rants, and the reason was obvious: 
she had been oppressed by dire 
poverty. He remembered the lunch- 
eon they had eaten together when 
first he came to Paris and the ghoul- 
ish appetite which had disgusted him: 
he realised now that she ate in that 
manner because she was ravenous. 
The concierge told him what her 
food had consisted of. A bottle of 
milk was left for her every day and 
she brought in her own loaf of bread; 
she ate half the loaf and drank half 
the milk at mid-day when she came 
back from the school, and consumed 
the rest in the evening. It was the 
same day after day. Philip thought 
with anguish of what she must have 
endured. She had never given anyone 
to understand that she was poorer 
than the rest, but it was clear that 
her money had been coming to an 
end, and at last she could not afford 
to come any more to the studio. The 
little room was almost bare of furni- 



ture, and there were no other clothes 
than the shabby brown dress she had 
always worn. Philip searched among 
her things for the address of some 
friend with whom he could commu- 
nicate. He found a piece of paper on 
which his own name was written a 
score of times. It gave him a peculiar 
shock. He supposed it was true that 
she had loved him; he thought of the 
emaciated body, in the brown dress, 
hanging from the nail in the ceiling; 
and he shuddered. But if she had 
cared for him why did she not let 
him help her? He would so gladly 
have done all he could. He felt re- 
morseful because he had refused to 
see that she looked upon him with 
any particular feeHng, and now these 
words in her letter were infinitely 
pathetic: I can't hear the thought that 
anyone else should touch me. She 
had died of starvation. 

PhiHp found at length a letter 
signed: your loving brother, Albert. It 
was two or three weeks old, dated 
from some road in Surbiton, and re- 
fused a loan of five pounds. The 
writer had his wife and family to 
think of, he didn't feel justified in 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



171 



lending money, and his advice was 
that Fanny should come back to Lon- 
don and try to get a situation. Philip 
telegraphed to Albert Price, and in a 
little while an answer came : 

"Deeply distressed. Very awkward 
to leave my business. Is presence 
essential. Price." 

Philip wired a succinct affirmative, 
and next morning a stranger pre- 
sented himself at the studio. 

"My name's Price," he said, when 
Philip opened the door. 

He was a commonish man in black 
with a band round his bowler hat; 
he had something of Fanny's clumsy 
look; he wore a stubbly moustache, 
and had a Cockney accent. Philip 
asked him to come in. He cast side- 
long glances round the studio while 
Philip gave him details of the accident 
and told him what he had done. 

"I needn't see her, need I?" asked 
Albert Price. "My nerves aren't very 
strong, and it takes very little to up- 
set me." 

He began to talk freely. He was a 
rubber-merchant, and he had a wife 
and three children. Fanny was a 
governess, and he couldn't make out 
why she hadn't stuck to that instead 
of coming to Paris. 

"Me and Mrs. Price told her Paris 
was no place for a girl. And there's 
no money in art— never 'as been." 

It was plain enough that he had 
not been on friendly terms with his 
sister, and he resented her suicide as 
a last injury that she had done him. 
He did not like the idea that she had 
been forced to it by poverty; that 
seemed to reflect on the family. The 
idea struck him that possibly there was 
a more respectable reason for her act. 

"I suppose she 'adn't any trouble 
with a man, 'ad she^ You know what 
I mean, Paris and all that. 
She might 'ave done it so as not to 



disgrace herself." 

Philip felt himself reddening and 
cursed his weakness. Price's keen little 
eyes seemed to suspect him of an in- 
trigue. 

"I believe your sister to have been 
perfectly virtuous," he answered 
acidly. "She killed herself because she 
was starving." 

"Well, it's very 'ard on her family, 
Mr. Carey. She only 'ad to write to 
me. I wouldn't have let my sister 
want." 

Philip had found the brother's 
address only by reading the letter in 
which he refused a loan; but he 
shrugged his shoulders: there was no 
use in recrimination. He hated the 
little man and wanted to have done 
with him as soon as possible. Albert 
Price also wished to get through the 
necessary business quickly so that he 
could get back to London. They went 
to the tiny room in which poor Fanny 
had lived. Albert Price looked at the 
pictures and the furniture. 

"I don't pretend to know much 
about art," he said. "I suppose these 
pictures would fetch something, 
would theyj^" 

"Nothing," said Philip. 

"The furniture's not worth ten 
shillings." 

Albert Price knew no French and 
Philip had to do everything. It seemed 
that it was an interminable process to 
get the poor body safely hidden away 
under ground: papers had to be ob- 
tained in one place and signed in an- 
other; officials had to be seen. For 
three days Philip was occupied from 
morning till night. At last he and Al- 
bert Price followed the hearse 
to the cemetery at Montparnasse. 

"I want to do the thing decent," 
said Albert Price, "but there's no use 
wasting money." 

The short ceremony was infinitely 
dreadful in the cold gray morning. 



172 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Half a dozen people who had worked 
with Fanny Price at the studio came 
to the funeral, Mrs. Otter because she 
was massiere and thought it her duty, 
Ruth Chalice because she had a kind 
heart, Lawson, Glutton, and Flanagan. 
They had all disliked her during her 
life. Philip, looking across the ceme- 
tery crowded on all sides with monu- 
ments, some poor and simple, others 
vulgar, pretentious, and ugly, shud- 
dered. It was horribly sordid. When 
they came out Albert Price asked 
Philip to lunch with him. Philip 
loathed him now and he was tired; 
he had not been sleeping well, for 
he dreamed constantly of Fanny Price 
in the torn brown dress, hanging from 
the nail in the ceiling; but he could 
not think of an excuse. 

"You take me somewhere where we 
can get a regular slap-up lunch. All 
this is the very worst thing for my 
nerves." 

"Lavenue's is about the best place 
round here," answered Philip. 

Albert Price settled himself on a 
velvet seat with a sigh of relief. He 
ordered a substantial luncheon and a 
bottle of wine. 

"Well, Fm glad that's over," he 
said. 

He threw out a few artful ques- 
tions, and Philip discovered that he 
was eager to hear about the painter's 
life in Paris. He represented it to him- 
self as deplorable, but he was anxious 
for details of the orgies which his 
fancy suggested to him. With sly 
winks and discreet sniggering he con- 
veyed that he knew very well that 
there was a great deal more 
than Philip confessed. He was a man 
of the world, and he knew a thing 
or two. He asked Philip whether he 
had ever been to any of those places 
in Montmartre which are celebrated 
from Temple Bar to the Royal Ex- 
change. He would like to say he had 



been to the Moulin Rouge. The 
luncheon was very good and the wine 
excellent. Albert Price expanded as 
the processes of digestion went satis- 
factorily forwards. 

"Let's 'ave a little brandy," he said 
when the coffee was brought, "and 
blow the expense." 

He rubbed his hands. 

"You know, Fve got 'alf a mind to 
stay over tonight and go back tomor- 
row. What d'you say to spending the 
evening together)" 

"If you mean you want me to take 
you round Montmartre tonight, I'll 
see you damned," said Philip. 

"I suppose it wouldn't be quite the 
thing." 

The answer was made so seriously 
that Philip was tickled. 

"Besides it would be rotten for 
your nerves," he said gravely. 

Albert Price concluded that he had 
better go back to London by the four 
o'clock train, and presently he took 
leave of Philip. 

"Well, good-bye, old man," he said. 
"I tell you what, I'll try and come 
over to Paris again one of these days 
and I'll look you up. And then we 
won't 'alf go on the razzle." 

Philip was too restless to work that 
afternoon, so he jumped on a bus and 
crossed the river to see whether there 
were any pictures on view at Durand- 
Ruel's. After that he strolled along the 
boulevard. It was cold and wind- 
swept. People hurried by wrapped up 
in their coats, shrunk together in an 
effort to keep out of the cold, and 
their faces were pinched and care- 
worn. It was icy underground in the 
cemetery at Montpamasse among all 
those white tombstones. Philip felt 
lonely in the world and strangely 
homesick. He wanted company. At 
that hour Cronshaw would be work- 
ing, and Glutton never welcomed 
visitors; Lawson was painting another 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



173 



portrait of Ruth Chalice and would 
not care to be disturbed. He made up 
his mind to go and see Flanagan. He 
found him painting, but delighted to 
throw up his work and talk. The 
studio was comfortable, for the Amer- 
ican had more money than most of 
them, and warm; Flanagan set about 
making tea. Philip looked at the two 
heads that he was sending to the 
Salon. 

"It's awful cheek my sending any- 
thing," said Flanagan, "but I don't 
care, Fm going to send. D'you think 
they're rotteni^" 

"Not so rotten as I should have 
expected," said Philip. 

They showed in fact an astound- 
ing cleverness. The difficulties had 
been avoided with skill, and there was 
a dash about the way in which the 
paint was put on which was surpris- 
ing and even attractive. Flanagan, 
without knowledge or technique, 
painted with the loose brush of a man 
who has spent a lifetime in the 
practice of the art. 

"If one were forbidden to look at 
any picture for more than thirty sec- 
onds you'd be a great master, 
Flanagan," smiled Philip. 

These young people were not in 
the habit of spoiling one another with 
excessive flattery. 

"We haven't got time in America 
to spend more than thirty seconds in 
looking at any picture," laughed the 
other. 

Flanagan, though he was the most 
scatter-brained person in the world, 
had a tenderness of heart which was 
unexpected and charming. Whenever 
anyone was ill he installed himself as 
sicknurse. His gaiety was better than 
any medicine. Like many of 
his countrymen he had not the Eng- 
lish dread of sentimentality which 
keeps so tight a hold on emotion; and, 
finding nothing absurd in the show of 



feeling, could offer an exuberant sym- 
pathy which was often grateful to his 
friends in distress. He saw that Philip 
was depressed by what he had gone 
through and with unaffected kindli- 
ness set himself boisterously to cheer 
him up. He exaggerated the Ameri- 
canisms which he knew always made 
the Englishmen laugh and poured out 
a breathless stream of conversation, 
whimsical, high-spirited, and jolly. In 
due course they went out to dinner 
and afterwards to the Gaite Mont- 
parnasse, which was Flanagan's fa- 
vourite place of amusement. By the 
end of the evening he was in his most 
extravagant humour. He had drunk a 
good deal, but any inebriety 
from which he suffered was due much 
more to his own vivacity than to 
alcohol. He proposed that they should 
go to the Bal BuUier, and Philip, feel- 
ing too tired to go to bed, willingly 
enough consented. They sat down at 
a table on the platform at the side, 
raised a little from the level of the 
floor so that they could watch the 
dancing, and drank a bock. Presently 
Flanagan saw a friend and with a wild 
shout leaped over the barrier onto the 
space where they were dancing. Philip 
watched the people. Bullier was not 
the resort of fashion. It was Thursday 
night and the place was crowded. 
There were a number of students of 
the various faculties, but most of the 
men were clerks or assistants in shops; 
they wore their every-day clothes, 
ready-made tweeds or queer tail-coats, 
and their hats, for they had brought 
them in with them, and when they 
danced there was no place to put 
them but their heads. Some of the 
women looked like servant-girls, and 
some were painted hussies, but for the 
most part they were shop-girls. They 
were poorly-dressed in cheap imitation 
of the fashions on the other side of 
the river. The hussies were got up to 



174 

resemble the music-hall artiste or the 
dancer who enjoyed notoriety at the 
moment; their eyes were heavy with 
black and their cheeks impudently 
scarlet. The hall was lit by great white 
lights, low down, which emphasised 
the shadows on the faces; all the lines 
seemed to harden under it, and the 
colours were most crude. It was a 
sordid scene. Philip leaned over the 
rail, staring down, and he ceased to 
hear the music. They danced 
furiously. They danced round the 
room, slowly, talking very little, with 
all their attention given to the dance. 
The room was hot, and their faces 
shone with sweat. It seemed to Philip 
that they had thrown off the guard 
which people wear on their expres- 
sion, the homage to convention, and 
he saw them now as they really were. 
In that moment of abandon they were 
strangely animal: some were foxy 
and some were wolflike; and others 
had the long, foolish face of sheep. 
Their skins were sallow from the un- 
healthy life they led and the poor 
food they ate. Their features were 
blunted by mean interests, and their 
little eyes were shifty and cunning. 
There was nothing of nobility in their 
bearing, and you felt that for all of 
them life was a long succession of 
petty concerns and sordid thoughts. 
The air was heavy with the musty 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



smell of humanity. But they danced 
furiously as though impelled by some 
strange power within them, and it 
seemed to Philip that they were driven 
forward by a rage for enjoyment. 
They were seeking desperately to es- 
cape from a world of horror. The de- 
sire for pleasure which Cronshaw said 
was the only motive of human action 
urged them blindly on, and the very 
vehemence of the desire seemed to rob 
it of all pleasure. They were hi^rried 
on by a great wind, helplessly, they 
knew not why and they knew not 
whither. Fate seemed to tower above 
them, and they danced as though 
everlasting darkness were beneath 
their feet. Their silence was vaguely 
alarming. It was as if life terrified 
them and robbed them of power of 
speech so that the shriek which was 
in their hearts died at their throats. 
Their eyes were haggard and grim; 
and notwithstanding the beastly lust 
that disfigured them, and the mean- 
ness of their faces, and the cruelty, 
notwithstanding the stupidness which 
was worst of all, the anguish of those 
fixed eyes made all that crowd terrible 
and pathetic. Philip loathed them, 
and yet his heart ached with the in- 
finite pity which filled him. 

He took his coat from the cloak- 
room and went out into the bitter 
coldness of the night. 



Philip could not get the unhappy 
event out of his head. What troubled 
him most was the uselessness 
of Fanny's effort. No one could have 
worked harder than she, nor with 
more sincerity; she believed in herself 
with all her heart; but it was plain 
that self-confidence meant very little. 



all his friends had it, Miguel Ajuria 
among the rest; and Philip was 
shocked by the contrast between the 
Spaniard's heroic endeavour and the 
triviality of the thing he attempted. 
The unhappiness of Philip's life at 
school had called up in him the power 
of self-analysis; and this vice, as subtle 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



75 



as drug-taking, had taken possession of 
him so that he had now a pecuHar 
keenness in the dissection of his feel- 
ings. He could not help seeing that 
art affected him differently from 
others. A fine picture gave Lawson 
an immediate thrill. His appreciation 
was instinctive. Even Flanagan felt 
certain things which Philip was 
obliged to think out. His own appre- 
ciation was intellectual. He could not 
help thinking that if he had in him 
the artistic temperament (he hated the 
phrase, but could discover no other) 
he would feel beauty in the emotional, 
unreasoning way in which they did. 
He began to wonder whether he had 
anything more than a superficial 
cleverness of the hand which 
enabled him to copy objects with 
accuracy. That was nothing. He had 
learned to despise technical dexterity. 
The important thing was to feel in 
terms of paint. Lawson painted in a 
certain way because it was his nature 
to, and through the imitativeness of a 
student sensitive to every influence, 
there pierced individuality. Philip 
looked at his own portrait of Ruth 
Chalice, and now that three months 
had passed he realised that it was no 
more than a servile copy of Lawson. 
He felt himself barren. He painted 
with the brain, and he could not help 
knowing that the only painting worth 
anything was done with the heart. 
He had very httle money, barely 
sixteen hundred pounds, and it would 
be necessary for him to practise the 
severest economy. He could not count 
on earning anything for ten years. The 
history of painting was full of artists 
who had earned nothing at all. He 
must resign himself to penury; and it 
was worth while if he produced work 
which was immortal; but he had a 
terrible fear that he would never be 
more than second-rate. Was it worth 
while for that to give up one's youth, 



and the gaiety of life, and the mani- 
fold chances of being'? He knew the 
existence of foreign painters in Paris 
enough to see that the lives they led 
were narrowly provincial. He knew 
some who had dragged along 
for twenty years in the pursuit of a 
fame which always escaped them till 
they sunk into sordidness and alco- 
holism. Fanny's suicide had aroused 
memories, and Philip heard ghastly 
stories of the way in which one person 
or another had escaped from despair. 
He remembered the scornful advice 
which the master had given poor 
Fanny: it would have been well for 
her if she had taken it and given up 
an attempt which was hopeless. 

Philip finished his portrait of Miguel 
Ajuria and made up his mind to send 
it to the Salon. Flanagan was sending 
two pictures, and he thought he could 
paint as well as Flanagan. He had 
worked so hard on the portrait that he 
could not help feeling it must have 
merit. It was true that when he looked 
at it he felt that there was something 
wrong, though he could not tell what; 
but when he was away from it his 
spirits went up and he was not dis- 
satisfied. He sent it to the Salon and it 
was refused. He did not mind much, 
since he had done all he could to per- 
suade himself that there was little 
chance that it would be taken, till 
Flanagan a few days later rushed in 
to tell Lawson and Philip that one of 
his pictures was accepted. With a blank 
face Philip offered his congratulations, 
and Flanagan was so busy congratulat- 
ing himself that he did not catch the 
note of irony which Philip could not 
prevent from coming into his voice. 
Lawson, quicker-witted, observed it 
and looked at Philip curiously. His 
own picture was all right, he knew that 
a day or two before, and he was vaguely 
resentful of Philip's attitude. But he 
was surprised at the sudden question 



176 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



which Phihp put him as soon as the 
American was gone. 

"If you were in my place would 
you chuck the whole thing?" 

"What do you mean?" 

"I wonder if it's worth while being 
a second-rate painter. You see, in other 
things, if you're a doctor or if you're 
in business, it doesn't matter so much 
if you're mediocre. You make a living 
and you get along. But what is the 
good of turning out second-rate pic- 
tures?" 

Lawson was fond of Philip and, 
as soon as he thought he was seriously 
distressed by the refusal of his picture, 
he set himself to console him. It was 
notorious that the Salon had refused 
pictures which were afterwards fa- 
mous; it was the first time Philip had 
sent, and he must expect a rebuff; 
Flanagan's success was explicable, his 
picture was showy and superficial: it 
was just the sort of thing a languid 
jury would see merit in. Philip grew 
impatient; it was humiliating that 
Lawson should think him capable of 
being seriously disturbed by so trivial 
a calamity and would not realise that 
his dejection was due to a deep-seated 
distrust of his powers. 

Of late Glutton had withdrawn 
himself somewhat from the group 
who took their meals at Gravier's, and 
lived very much by himself. Flanagan 
said he was in love with a girl, but 
Glutton's austere countenance did not 
suggest passion; and Philip thought it 
more probable that he separated him- 
self from his friends so that he might 
grow clear with the new ideas which 
were in him. But that evening, when 
the others had left the restaurant to 
go to a play and Philip was sitting 
alone. Glutton came in and ordered 
dinner. They began to talk, and find- 
ing Glutton more loquacious and less 
sardonic than usual, Philip de- 
termined to take advantage of his 



good humour. 

"I say I wish you'd come and look 
at my picture," he said. "I'd like to 
know what you think of it." 

"No, I won't do that." 

"Why not?" asked Philip, red- 
dening. 

The request was one which they 
all made of one another, and no one 
ever thought of refusing. Glutton 
shrugged his shoulders. 

"People ask you for criticism, but 
they only want praise. Besides, what's 
the good of criticism? What does it 
matter if your picture is good or bad?" 

"It matters to me." 

"No. The only reason that one 
paints is that one can't help it. It's a 
function like any of the other func- 
tions of the body, only comparatively 
few people have got it. One paints 
for oneself: otherwise one would com- 
mit suicide. Just think of it, you spend 
God knows how long trying to get 
something on to canvas, putting the 
sweat of your soul into it, and what 
is the result? Ten to one it will be 
refused at the Salon; if it's accepted, 
people glance at it for ten seconds 
as they pass; if you're lucky some 
ignorant fool will buy it and put it on 
his walls and look at it as little as 
he looks at his dining-room table. 
Griticism has nothing to do with the 
artist. It judges objectively, but the 
objective doesn't concern the artist." 

Glutton put his hands over his eyes 
so that he might concentrate his mind 
on what he wanted to say. 

"The artist gets a peculiar sensation 
from something he sees, and is im- 
pelled to express it and, he doesn't 
know why, he can only express his 
feeling by lines and colours. It's like 
a musician; he'll read a line or two, 
and a certain combination of notes 
presents itself to him: he doesn't know 
why such and such words call forth in 
him such and such notes; they just 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



do. And ril tell you another reason 
why criticism is meaningless: a great 
painter forces the world to see nature 
as he sees it; but in the next gen- 
eration another painter sees the world 
in another way, and then the public 
judges him not by himself but by his 
predecessor. So the Barbizon people 
taught our fathers to look at trees in a 
certain manner, and when Monet 
came along and painted difiFerently, 
people said: But trees aren't like that. 
It never struck them that trees are ex- 
actly how a painter chooses to see 
them. We paint from within outwards 
—if we force our vision on the world 
it calls us great painters; if we don't 
it ignores us; but we are the same. 
We don't attach any meaning to 
greatness or to smallness. What hap- 
pens to our work afterwards is unim- 
portant; we have got all we could out 
of it while we were doing it." 

There was a pause while Glutton 
with voracious appetite devoured the 
food that was set before him. Philip, 
smoking a cheap cigar, observed him 
closely. The ruggedness of the head, 
which looked as though it were carved 
from a stone refractory to the sculptor's 
chisel, the rough mane of dark hair, 
the great nose, and the massive bones 
of the jaw, suggested a man of 
strength; and yet Philip wondered 
whether perhaps the mask concealed 
a strange weakness. Glutton's refusal 
to show his work might be sheer 
vanity: he could not bear the thought 
of anyone's criticism, and he would 
not expose himself to the chance of a 
refusal from the Salon; he wanted to 
be received as a master and would not 
risk comparisons with other work 
which might force him to diminish 
his own opinion of himself. During 
the eighteen months Philip had 
known him Glutton had grown more 
harsh and bitter; though he would 
not come out into the open and com- 



177 

pete with his fellows, he was indig- 
nant with the facile success of those 
who did. He had no patience with 
Lawson, and the pair were no longer 
on the intimate terms upon which 
they had been when Philip first knew 
them. 

"Lawson's all right," he said con- 
temptuously, "he'll go back to Eng- 
land, become a fashionable portrait 
painter, earn ten thousand a year and 
be an A. R. A. before he's forty. Por- 
traits done by hand for the nobility 
and gentry 1" 

Philip, too, looked into the future, 
and he saw Glutton in twenty years, 
bitter, lonely, savage, and unknown; 
still in Paris, for the life there had got 
into his bones, ruling a small cenacle 
with a savage tongue, at war with 
himself and the world, producing 
little in his increasing passion for a 
perfection he could not reach: and 
perhaps sinking at last into drunken- 
ness. Of late Philip had been capti- 
vated by an idea that since one had 
only one life it was important to make 
a success of it, but he did not count 
success by the acquiring of money or 
the achieving of fame; he did not 
quite know yet what he meant by it, 
perhaps variety of experience and the 
making the most of his abilities. It 
was plain anyway that the life which 
Glutton seemed destined to was 
failure. Its only justification would be 
the painting of imperishable master- 
pieces. He recollected Gronshaw's 
whimsical metaphor of the Persian 
carpet; he had thought of it often; 
but Gronshaw with his faun-like hu- 
mour had refused to make his mean- 
ing clear: he repeated that it had none 
unless one discovered it for oneself. 
It was this desire to make a success 
of life which was at the bottom of 
Philip's uncertainty about continuing 
his artistic career. But Glutton began 
to talk again. 



178 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"D'you remember my telling you 
about that chap I met in Brittany? I 
saw him the other day here. He's just 
off to Tahiti. He was broke to the 
world. He was a hrasseur d'affaires, 
a stockbroker I suppose you call it 
in EngHsh; and he had a wife and 
family, and he was earning a large 
income. He chucked it all to become 
a painter. He just went off and settled 
down in Brittany and began to paint. 
He hadn't got any money and did the 
next best thing to starving." 

"And what about his wife and 
family?" asked Philip. 

"Oh, he dropped them. He left 
them to starve on their own account." 

"It sounds a pretty low-down thing 
to do." 

"Oh, my dear fellow, if you want 
to be a gentleman you must give up 
being an artist. They've got nothing 
to do with one another. You hear of 
men painting pot-boilers to keep an 
aged mother— well, it shows they're 
excellent sons, but it's no excuse for 
bad work. They're only tradesmen. 
An artist would let his mother go to 
the workhouse. There's a writer I 
know over here who told me that his 
wife died in childbirth. He was in 
love with her and he was mad with 
grief, but as he sat at the bedside 
watching her die he found himself 
making mental notes of how she 
looked and what she said and the 
things he was feeling. Gentlemanly, 
wasn't it?" 

"But is your friend a good painter?" 
asked Philip. 

"No, not yet, he paints just hke 
Pissarro. He hasn't found himself, but 
he's got a sense of colour and a sense 
of decoration. But that isn't the ques- 
tion. It's the feeling, and that he's got. 
He's behaved like a perfect cad to his 
wife and children, he's always behav- 
ing like a perfect cad; the way he 
treats the people who've helped him 



—and sometimes he's been saved from 
starvation merely by the kindness of 
his friends— is simply beastly. He just 
happens to be a great artist." 

Philip pondered over the man who 
was willing to sacrifice everything, 
comfort, home, money, love, honour, 
duty, for the sake of getting on to 
canvas with paint the emotion which 
the world gave him. It was magnifi- 
cent, and yet his courage failed him. 

Thinking of Cronshaw recalled to 
him the fact that he had not seen 
him for a week, and so, when Glutton 
left him, he wandered along to the 
cafe in which he was certain to find 
the writer. During the first few 
months of his stay in Paris Philip had 
accepted as gospel all that Gronshaw 
said, but Philip had a practical out- 
look and he grew impatient with the 
theories which resulted in no action. 
Gronshaw's slim bundle of poetry did 
not seem a substantial result for a life 
which was sordid. Philip could not 
wrench out of his nature the instincts 
of the middle-class from which he 
came; and the penury, the hack work 
which Gronshaw did to keep body 
and soul together, the monotony of 
existence between the slovenly attic 
and the cafe table jarred with his re- 
spectabihty. Gronshaw was astute 
enough to know that the young man 
disapproved of him, and he attacked 
his phihstinism with an irony which 
was sometimes playful but often very 
keen. 

"You're a tradesman," he told 
Philip, "you want to invest life in 
console so that it shall bring you in a 
safe three percent. I'm a spendthrift, 
I run through my capital. I shall 
spend my last penny with my last 
heartbeat." 

The metaphor irritated Philip, be- 
cause it assumed for the speaker a 
romantic attitude and cast a slur upon 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



179 



the position which PhiHp instinctively 
felt had more to say for it than he 
could think of at the moment. 

But this evening Philip, undecided, 
wanted to talk about himself. Fortu- 
nately it was late already and Cron- 
shaw's pile of saucers on the table, 
each indicating a drink, suggested that 
he was prepared to take an independ- 
ent view of things in general. 

"I wonder if you'd give me some 
advice," said Philip suddenly. 

^'You won't take it, will you?" 

Philip shrugged his shoulders im- 
patiently. 

"I don't believe I shall ever 
do much good as a painter. I don't 
see any use in being second-rate. I'm 
thinking of chucking it." 

"Why shouldn't you?" 

Philip hesitated for an instant. 

"I suppose I like the life." 

A change came over Cronshaw's 
placid, round face. The corners of the 



mouth were suddenly depressed, the 
eyes sunk dully in their orbits; he 
seemed to become strangely bowed 
and old. 

**This?" he cried, looking round the 
cafe in which they sat. His voice 
really trembled a little. 

"If you can get out of it, do while 
there's time." 

Philip stared at him with astonish- 
ment, but the sight of emotion always 
made him feel shy, and he dropped 
his eyes. He knew that he was looking 
upon the tragedy of failure. There was 
silence. Philip thought that Cronshaw 
was looking upon his own life; and 
perhaps he considered his youth with 
its bright hopes and the disappoint- 
ments which wore out the radiancy; 
the wretched monotony of pleasure, 
and the black future. Philip's eyes 
rested on the little pile of saucers, 
and he knew that Cronshaw's were on 
them too. 



LI 



Two months passed. 

It seemed to Philip, brooding over 
these matters, that in the true painters, 
wa:iters, musicians, there was a power 
which drove them to such complete 
absorption in their work as to make 
it inevitable for them to subordinate 
life to art. Succumbing to an 
influence they never realised, they 
were merely dupes of the instinct 
that possessed them, and life slipped 
through their fingers unlived. But he 
had a feeling that life was to be lived 
rather than portrayed, and he wanted 
to search out the various experiences 
of it and wring from each moment 
all the emotion that it offered. He 
made up his mind at length to take a 
certain step and abide by the result. 



and, having made up his mind, he 
determined to take the step at once. 
Luckily enough the next morning was 
one of Foinet's days, and he resolved 
to ask him point-blank whether it was 
worth his while to go on with the 
study of art. He had never forgotten 
the master's brutal advice to Fanny 
Price. It had been sound. Philip could 
never get Fanny entirely out of his 
head. The studio seemed strange with- 
out her, and now and then the gesture 
of one of the women working there 
or the tone of a voice would give him 
a sudden start, reminding him of her: 
her presence was more noticeable now 
she was dead than it had ever been 
during her life; and he often dreamed 
of her at night, waking with a cry of 



i«o 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



terror. It was horrible to think of all 
the suffering she must have endured. 

Philip knew that on the days 
Foinet came to the studio he lunched 
at a little restaurant in the Rue 
d'Odessa, and he hurried his own 
meal so that he could go and wait out- 
side till the painter came out. Philip 
walked up and down the crowded 
street and at last saw Monsieur 
Foinet walking, with bent head, to- 
wards him; Philip was very nervous, 
but he forced himself to go up to him. 

"Pardon, monsieur, I should like to 
speak to you for one moment." 

Foinet gave him a rapid glance, 
recognised him, but did not smile a 
greeting. 

"Speak," he said. 

"IVe been working here nearly two 
years now under you. I wanted to ask 
you to tell me frankly if you think 
it worth while for me to continue." 

Philip's voice was trembling a little. 
Foinet walked on without looking up. 
Philip, watching his face, saw no trace 
of expression upon it. 

"I don't understand." 

"I'm very poor. If I have no talent 
I would sooner do something else." 

"Don't you know if you have 
talent?" 

"All my friends know they have 
talent, but I am aware some of them 
are mistaken." 

Foinet's bitter mouth outlined the 
shadow of a smile, and he asked: 

"Do you live near here?" 

Philip told him where his studio 
was. Foinet turned round. 

"Let us go there? You shall show 
me your work." 

"Now?" cried Philip. 

"Why not?" 

Philip had nothing to say. He 
walked silently by the master's side. 
He felt horribly sick. It had never 
struck him that Foinet would wish to 
see his things there and then; he 



meant, so that he might have time to 
prepare himself, to ask him if he 
would mind coming at some future 
date or whether he might bring them 
to Foinet's studio. He was trembling 
with anxiety. In his heart he hoped 
that Foinet would look at his picture, 
and that rare smile would come into 
his face, and he would shake Philip's 
hand and say: "Pas mal. Go on, my 
lad. You have talent, real talent." 
Philip's heart swelled at the thought. 
It was such a relief, such a joy! Now 
he could go on with courage; and 
what did hardship matter, privation, 
and disappointment, if he arrived at 
last? He had worked very hard, it 
would be too cruel if all that industry 
were futile. And then with a start he 
remembered that he had heard Fanny 
Price say just that. They arrived at 
the house, and Philip was seized with 
fear. If he had dared he would have 
asked Foinet to go away. He did not 
want to know the truth. They went 
in and the concierge handed him a 
letter as they passed. He glanced at 
the envelope and recognised his 
uncle's handwriting. Foinet followed 
him up the stairs. Philip could think 
of nothing to say; Foinet was mute, 
and the silence got on his nerves. The 
professor sat down; and Philip with- 
out a word placed before him the 
picture which the Salon had rejected; 
Foinet nodded but did not speak; then 
Philip showed him the two portraits 
he had made of Ruth Chalice, two 
or three landscapes which he had 
painted at Moret, and a number of 
sketches. 

"That's all," he said presently, with 
a nervous laugh. 

Monsieur Foinet rolled himself a 
cigarette and lit it. 

"You have very little private 
means?" he asked at last. 

"Very little," answered Philip, with 



OP HUMAN BONDAGE 



I»I 



a sudden feeling of cold at his heart. 
"Not enough to live on." 

"There is nothing so degrading as 
the constant anxiety about one's means 
of livelihood. I have nothing but con- 
tempt for the people who despise 
money. They are hypocrites or fools. 
Money is like a sixth sense without 
which you cannot make a complete 
use of the other five. Without an ade- 
quate income half the possibilities of 
life are shut off. The only thing to be 
careful about is that you do not pay 
more than a shilling for the shilling 
you earn. You will hear people say 
that poverty is the best spur to the 
artist. They have never felt the iron 
of it in their flesh. They do not know 
how mean it makes you. It exposes 
you to endless humiliation, it cuts 
your wings, it eats into your soul like 
a cancer. It is not wealth one asks 
for, but just enough to preserve one's 
dignity, to work unhampered, to be 
generous, frank, and independent. I 
pity with all my heart the artist, 
whether he writes or paints, who is en- 
tirely dependent for subsistence upon 
his art." 

Philip quietly put away the various 
things which he had shown. 

"Fm afraid that sounds as if you 
didn't think I had much chance." 

Monsieur Foinet slightly shrugged 
his shoulders. 

'Tou have a certain manual dex- 
terity. With hard work and persever- 
ance there is no reason why 
you should not become a careful, not 
incompetent painter. You would find 
hundreds who painted worse than 
you, hundreds who painted as well. 
I see no talent in anything you have 
shown me. I see industry and intelli- 
gence. You will never be anything but 
mediocre." 

Philip obliged himself to answer 
quite steadily. 

"I'm very grateful to you for having 



taken so much trouble. I can't thank 
you enough." 

Monsieur Foinet got up and made 
as if to go, but he changed his mind 
and, stopping, put his hand on Philip's 
shoulder. 

"But if you were to ask me my ad- 
vice, I should say: take your courage 
in both hands and try your luck at 
something else. It sounds very hard, 
but let me tell you this: I would give 
all I have in the world if someone 
had given me that advice when I was 
your age and I had taken it." 

Philip looked up at him with sur- 
prise. The master forced his lips into 
a smile, but his eyes remained grave 
and sad. 

"It is cruel to discover one's medi- 
ocrity only when it is too late. It 
does not improve the temper." 

He gave a little laugh as he said the 
last words and quickly walked out 
of the room. 

Philip mechanically took up the 
letter from his uncle. The sight of his 
handwriting made him anxious, for it 
was his aunt who always wrote to him. 
She had been ill for the last three 
months, and he had offered to go over 
to England and see her; but she, fear- 
ing it would interfere with his work, 
had refused. She did not want him 
to put himself to inconvenience; she 
said she would wait till August and 
then she hoped he would come and 
stay at the vicarage for two or three 
weeks. If by any chance she grew 
worse she would let him know, since 
she did not wish to die without seeing 
him again. If his uncle wrote to him 
it must be because she was too ill to 
hold a pen. Philip opened the letter. 
It ran as follows: 

My dear Philip, 

1 regret to inform you that your 
dear Aunt departed this life early this 



l82 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



morning. She died very suddenly, hut 
quite peacefully. The change for the 
worse was so rapid that we had no 
time to send for you. She was fully 
prepared for the end and entered into 
rest with the complete assurance of a 
Messed resurrection and with resigna- 
tion to the divine will of our Messed 
Lord Jesus Christ. Your Aunt would 



have liked you to he present at the 
funeral so 1 trust you will come as 
soon as you can. There is naturally a 
great deal of work thrown upon my 
shoulders and 1 am very much upset. 
I trust that you will he ahle to do 
everything for me. 

Your affectionate uncle, 

William Carey. 



LII 



Next day Philip arrived at Black- 
stable. Since the death o£ his mother 
he had never lost anyone closely con- 
nected with him; his aunt's death 
shocked him and filled him also with 
a curious fear; he felt for the first time 
his own mortality. He could not realise 
what hfe would be for his uncle with- 
out the constant companionship of the 
woman who had loved and tended 
him for forty years. He expected to 
find him broken down with hopeless 
grief. He dreaded the first meeting; 
he knew that he could say nothing 
which would be of use. He rehearsed 
to himself a number of apposite 
speeches. 

He entered the vicarage by the side- 
door and went into the dining-room. 
Uncle William was reading the paper. 

"Your train was late," he said, look- 
ing up. 

Philip was prepared to give way to 
his emotion, but the matter-of-fact re- 
ception startled him. His uncle, sub- 
dued but calm, handed him the paper. 

"There's a very nice little paragraph 
about her in The Blackstahle Times," 
he said. 

Phihp read it mechanically. 

"Would you like to come up and 
see her?" 

Philip nodded and together they 
walked upstairs. Aunt Louisa was ly- 



ing in the middle of the large bed, 
with flowers all round her. 

"Would you like to say a short 
prayer?" said the Vicar. 

He sank on his knees, and because 
it was expected of him Philip fol- 
lowed his example. He looked at the 
little shrivelled face. He was only con- 
scious of one emotion: what a wasted 
life! In a minute Mr. Carey gave a 
cough, and stood up. He pointed to a 
wreath at the foot of the bed. 

"That's from the Squire," he said. 
He spoke in a low voice as though he 
were in church, but one felt that, as 
a clergyman, he found himself quite 
at home. "I expect tea is ready." 

They went down again to the din- 
ing-room. The drawn blinds gave a 
lugubrious aspect. The Vicar sat at the 
end of the table at which his wife had 
always sat and poured out the tea with 
ceremony. Philip could not help feel- 
ing that neither of them should have 
been able to eat anything, but when 
he saw that his uncle's appetite was 
unimpaired he fell to with his usual 
heartiness. They did not speak for a 
while. Philip set himself to eat an 
excellent cake with the air of grief 
which he felt was decent. 

"Things have changed a great deal 
since I was a curate," said the Vicar 
presently. "In my young days the 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



■83 



mourners used always to be given a 
pair of black gloves and a piece of 
black silk for their hats. Poor Louisa 
used to make the silk into dresses. She 
aWays said that twelve funerals gave 
her a new dress." 

Then he told Philip who had sent 
wreaths; there were twenty-four of 
them already; when Mrs. Rawlingson, 
wife of the Vicar at Feme, had died 
she had had thirty-two; but probably 
a good many more would come the 
next day; the funeral would start at 
eleven o'clock from the vicarage, and 
they should beat Mrs. Rawlingson 
easily. Louisa never liked Mrs. Raw- 
lingson. 

"I shall take the funeral myself. I 
promised Louisa I would never let 
anyone else bury her.** 

Philip looked at his uncle with dis- 
approval when he took a second piece 
of cake. Under the circumstances he 
could not help thinking it greedy. 

"Mary Ann certainly makes capital 
cakes. Fm afraid no one else will make 
such good ones." 

"She's not going?" cried Philip, 
with astonishment. 

Mary Ann had been at the vicarage 
ever since he could remember. She 
never forgot his birthday, but made a 
point always of sending him a trifle, 
absurd but touching. He had a real 
affection for her. 

"Yes," answered Mr. Carey. "I didn't 
think it would do to have a single 
woman in the house." 

"But, good heavens, she must be 
over forty." 

"Yes, I think she is. But she's been 
rather troublesome lately, she's been 
inclined to take too much on herself, 
and I thought this was a very good 
opportunity to give her notice." 

"It's certainly one which isn't likely 
to recur," said Philip. 

He took out a cigarette, but his un- 
cle prevented him from lighting it. 



"Not till after the funeral, PhiHp," 
he said gently. 

"All right," said Philip. 

"It wouldn't be quite respectful to 
smoke in the house so long as your 
poor Aunt Louisa is upstairs." 

Josiah Graves, churchwarden and 
manager of the bank, came back to 
dinner at the vicarage after the funeral. 
The blinds had been drawn up, and 
Philip, against his will, felt a curious 
sensation of relief. The body in the 
house had made him uncomfortable: 
in life the poor woman had been all 
that was kind and gentle; and yet, 
when she lay upstairs in her bed-room, 
cold and stark, it seemed as though she 
cast upon the survivors a baleful in- 
fluence. The thought horrified Philip. 

He found himself alone for a min- 
ute or two in the dining-room with 
the churchwarden. 

"I hope you'll be able to stay with 
your uncle a while," he said. "I don't 
think he ought to be left alone just 
yet." 

"I haven't made any plans," an- 
swered Philip. "If he wants me I 
shall be very pleased to stay." 

By way of cheering the bereaved 
husband the churchwarden during 
dinner talked of a recent fire at Black- 
stable which had partly destroyed the 
Wesleyan chapel. 

"I hear they weren't insured," he 
said, with a little smile. 

"That won't make any difference," 
said the Vicar. "They'll get as much 
money as they want to rebuild. 
Chapel people are always ready to 
give money." 

"I see that Holden sent a wreath." 

Holden was the dissenting minis- 
ter, and, though for Christ's sake who 
died for both of them, Mr. Carey 
nodded to him in the street, he did 
not speak to him. 

"I think it was very pushing," he 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



remarked. "There were forty-one 
wreaths. Yours was beautiful. PhiHp 
and I admired it very much." 

"Don't mention it/* said the banker. 

He had noticed with satisfaction 
that it was larger than any one's else. 
It had looked very well. They began 
to discuss the people who attended 
the funeral. Shops had been closed for 
it, and the churchwarden took out of 
his pocket the notice which had been 
printed: Owing to the funeral of Mrs. 
Carey this estahlishment will not he 
opened till one o'clock." 

"It was my idea," he said. 

"I think it was very nice of them 
to close," said the Vicar. "Poor 
Louisa would have appreciated that." 

Philip ate his dinner. Mary Ann 
had treated the day as Sunday, and 
they had roast chicken and a goose- 
berry tart. 

"I suppose you haven't thought 
about a tombstone yet?" said the 
churchwarden. 

"Yes, I have. I thought of a plain 
stone cross. Louisa was always against 
ostentation." 

"I don't think one can do much 
better than a cross. If you're thinking 
of a text, what do you say to: With 
Christ, which is far hetter?" 

The Vicar pursed his Hps. It was 
just like Bismarck to try and settle 
everything himself. He did not like 
that text; it seemed to cast an asper- 
sion on himself. 

"I don't think I should put that. I 
much prefer: The Lord has given and 
the Lord has taken away." 

"Oh, do you? That always seems to 
me a little indifferent." 

The Vicar answered with some 
acidity, and Mr. Graves replied in a 
tone which the widower thought too 
authoritative for the occasion. Things 
were going rather far if he could not 
choose his own text for his own wife's 
tombstone. There was a pause, and 



then the conversation drifted to parish 
matters. Philip went into the garden 
to smoke his pipe. He sat on a bench, 
and suddenly began to laugh hyster- 
ically. 

A few days later his uncle ex- 
pressed the hope that he would spend 
the next few weeks at Blackstable. 

"Yes, that will suit me very well," 
said Philip. 

"I suppose it'll do if you go back to 
Paris in September." 

Philip did not reply. He had 
thought much of what Foinet said to 
him, but he was still so undecided 
that he did not wish to speak of the 
future. There would be something 
fine in giving up art because he was 
convinced that he could not excel; 
but unfortunately it would seem so 
only to himself: to others it would 
be an admission of defeat, and he did 
not want to confess that he was beaten. 
He was an obstinate fellow, and the 
suspicion that his talent did not lie 
in one direction made him inclined 
to force circumstances and aim not- 
withstanding precisely in that direc- 
tion. He could not bear that his friends 
should laugh at him. This might have 
prevented him from ever taking the 
definite step of abandoning the study 
of painting, but the different en- 
vironment made him on a sudden see 
things differently. Like many another 
he discovered that crossing the Chan- 
nel makes things which had seemed 
important singularly futile. The life 
which had been so charming that he 
could not bear to leave it now seemed 
inept; he was seized with a distaste 
for the cafes, the restaurants with 
their ill-cooked food, the shabby way 
in which they all lived. He did not 
care any more what his friends 
thought about him: Cronshaw with 
his rhetoric, Mrs. Otter with her 
respectability, Ruth Chalice with her 
affectations, Lawson and Clutton with 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



185 



their quarrels; he felt a revulsion from 
them all. He wrote to Lawson and 
asked him to send over all his belong- 
ings. A week later they arrived. When 
he unpacked his canvases he found 
himself able to examine his work 
without emotion. He noticed the fact 
with interest. His uncle was anxious 
to see his pictures. Though he had so 
greatly disapproved of Philip's desire 
to go to Paris, he accepted the situa- 
tion now with equanimity. He was 
interested in the life of students and 
constantly put Philip questions about 
it. He was in fact a little proud of him 
because he was a painter, and when 
people were present made attempts 
to draw him out. He looked eagerly at 
the studies of models which Philip 
showed him. Philip set before him 
his portrait of Miguel Ajuria. 

"Why did you paint him?" asked 
Mr. Carey. 

"Oh, I wanted a model, and his 
head interested me." 

"As you haven't got anything to do 
here I wonder you don't paint me." 

"It would bore you to sit." 

"I think I should like it." 

"We must see about it." 

Philip was amused at his uncle's 
vanity. It was clear that he was dying 
to have his portrait painted. To get 
something for nothing was a chance 
not to be missed. For two or three 
days he threw out Httle hints. He 
reproached Phihp for laziness, asked 
him when he was going to start work, 
and finally began telling everyone he 
met that Philip was going to paint 
him. At last there came a rainy day, 
and after breakfast Mr. Carey said to 
Philip: 

"Now, what d'you say to starting on 
my portrait this morning?" Philip put 
down the book he was reading and 
leaned back in his chair. 

"I've given up painting," he said. 

"Why?" asked his uncle in astonish- 



ment. 

"I don't think there's much object 
in being a second-rate painter, and I 
came to the conclusion that I should 
never be anything else." 

"You surprise me. Before you went 
to Paris you were quite certain that 
you were a genius." 

"I was mistaken," said Philip. 

"I should have thought now you'd 
taken up a profession you'd have the 
pride to stick to it. It seems to me that 
what you lack is perseverance." 

Philip was a little annoyed that his 
uncle did not even see how truly he- 
roic his determination was. 

" *A rolling stone gathers no moss,' " 
proceeded the clergyman. Philip hated 
that proverb above all, and it seemed 
to him perfectly meaningless. His 
uncle had repeated it often during the 
arguments which had preceded his 
departure from business. Apparently 
it recalled that occasion to his guard- 
ian. 

"You're no longer a boy, you know; 
you must begin to think of settling 
down. First you insist on becoming a 
chartered accountant, and then you 
get tired of that and you want to be- 
come a painter. And now if you please 
you change your mind again. It points 
to . . ." 

He hesitated for a moment to con- 
sider what defects of character exactly 
it indicated, and Philip finished the 
sentence. 

"Irresolution, incompetence, want 
of foresight, and lack of determina- 
tion." 

The Vicar looked up at his nephew 
quickly to see whether he was laugh- 
ing at him. Philip's face was serious, 
but there was a twinkle in his eyes 
which irritated him. Philip should 
really be getting more serious. He felt 
it right to give him a rap over the 
knuckles. 



1 86 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



'Tour money matters have nothing 
to do with me now. You're your own 
master; but I think you should re- 
member that your money won't last 
for ever, and the unlucky deformity 
you have doesn't exactly make it easier 
for you to earn your living." 

Philip knew by now that whenever 
anyone was angry with him his first 
thought was to say something about 
his club-foot. His estimate of the hu- 
man race was determined by the fact 
that scarcely anyone failed to resist 
the temptation. But he had trained 
himself not to show any sign that 
the reminder wounded him. He had 
even acquired control over the blush- 
ing which in his boyhood had been 
one of his torments. 

"As you justly remark," he an- 
swered, "my money matters have noth- 
ing to do with you and I am my own 
master." 

"At all events you will do me the 
justice to acknowledge that I was 
justified in my opposition when you 
made up your mind to become an 
art-student." 

"I don't know so much about that. I 
daresay one profits more by the mis- 
takes one makes off one's own bat 
than by doing the right thing on 
somebody's else advice. I've had my 
fling, and I don't mind settling down 
now." 

"What at?" 

Philip was not prepared for the 
question, since in fact he had not 
made up his mind. He had thought of 



a dozen callings. 

"The most suitable thing you could 
do is to enter your father's profession 
and become a doctor." 

"Oddly enough that is precisely 
what I intend." 

He had thought of doctoring 
among other things, chiefly because 
it was an occupation which seemed to 
give a good deal of personal freedom, 
and his experience of life in an office 
had made him determine never to 
have anything more to do with one; 
his answer to the Vicar slipped out 
almost unawares, because it was in the 
nature of a repartee. It amused him to 
make up his mind in that accidental 
way, and he resolved then and there 
to enter his father's old hospital in the 
autumn. 

"Then your two years in Paris may 
be regarded as so much wasted time?" 

"I don't know about that. I had a 
very jolly two years, and I learned one 
or two useful things." 

'What?" 

Philip reflected for an instant, and 
his answer was not devoid of a gentle 
desire to annoy. 

"I learned to look at hands, which 
I'd never looked at before. And in- 
stead of just looking at houses and 
trees I learned to look at houses and 
trees against the sky. And I learned 
also that shadows are not black but 
coloured." 

"I suppose you think you're very 
clever. I think your flippancy is quite 
inane." 



LIII 



Taking the paper with him Mr. 
Carey retired to his study. Philip 
changed his chair for that in which his 
uncle had been sitting (it was the only 



comfortable one in the room), and 
looked out of the window at the pour- 
ing rain. Even in that sad weather 
there was something restful about the 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



green fields that stretched to the hori- 
zon. There was an intimate charm 
in the landscape which he did not 
remember ever to have noticed before. 
Two years in France had opened his 
eyes to the beauty of his own country- 
side. 

He thought with a smile of his 
uncle's remark. It was lucky that the 
turn of his mind tended to flippancy. 
He had begun to realise what a great 
losis he had sustained in the death of 
his father and mother. That was one 
of the differences in his life which 
prevented him from seeing things in 
the same way as other people. The 
love of parents for their children is 
the only emotion which is quite dis- 
interested. Among strangers he had 
grown up as best he could, but he had 
seldom been used with patience or 
forbearance. He prided himself on his 
self-control. It had been whipped into 
him by the mockery of his fellows. 
Then they called him cynical and cal- 
lous. He had acquired calmness of 
demeanour and under most circum- 
stances an unruffled exterior, so that 
now he could not show his feelings. 
People told him he was unemotional; 
but he knew that he was at the mercy 
of his emotions: an accidental kind- 
ness touched him so much that some- 
times he did not venture to speak in 
order not to betray the unsteadiness 
of his voice. He remembered the bit- 
terness of his life at school, the 
humiliation which he had endured, 
the banter which had made him mor- 
bidly afraid of making himself ridic- 
ulous; and he remembered the lone- 
liness he had felt since, faced with the 
world, the disillusion and the disap- 
pointment caused by the difference 
between what it promised to his active 
imagination and what it gave. But not- 
withstanding he was able to look at 
himself from the outside and smile 
with amusement. 



187 

"By Jove, if I weren't flippant, I 
should hang myself," he thought 
cheerfully. 

His mind went back to the answer 
he had given his uncle when he asked 
him what he had learnt in Paris. He 
had learnt a good deal more than he 
told him. A conversation with Cron- 
shaw had stuck in his memory, and 
one phrase he had used, a common- 
place one enough, had set his brain 
working. 

"My dear fellow," Cronshaw said, 
"there's no such thing as abstract 
morality." 

When Philip ceased to believe in 
Christianity he felt that a great weight 
was taken from his shoulders; casting 
off the responsibility which weighed 
down every action, when every action 
was infinitely important for the wel- 
fare of his immortal soul, he experi- 
enced a vivid sense of liberty. But he 
knew now that this was an illusion. 
When he put away the religion in 
which he had been brought up, he 
had kept unimpaired the morality 
which was part and parcel of it. He 
made up his mind therefore to think 
things out for himself. He determined 
to be swayed by no prejudices. He 
swept away the virtues and the vices, 
the established laws of good and evil, 
with the idea of finding out the rules 
of life for himself. He did not know 
whether rules were necessary at all. 
That was one of the things he wanted 
to discover. Clearly much that seemed 
valid seemed so only because he had 
been taught it from his earliest youth. 
He had read a number of books, but 
they did not help him much, for they 
were based on the morality of Chris- 
tianity; and even the writers who em- 
phasised the fact that they did not 
believe in it were never satisfied till 
they had framed a system of ethics 
in accordance with that of the Sermon 
on the Mount. It seemed hardly worth 



88 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



while to read a long volume in order 
to learn that you ought to behave 
exactly like everybody else. Philip 
vi^anted to find out how he ought to 
behave, and he thought he could pre- 
vent himself from being influenced by 
the opinions that surrounded him. But 
meanwhile he had to go on living, 
and, until he formed a theory of con- 
duct, he made himself a provisional 
rule. 

"Follow your inclinations with due 
regard to the policeman round the 
corner." 

He thought the best thing he had 
gained in Paris was a complete lib- 
erty of spirit, and he felt himself at 
last absolutely free. In a desultory 
way he had read a good deal of 
philosophy, and he looked forward 
with delight to the leisure of the next 
few months. He began to read at 
haphazard. He entered upon each sys- 
tem with a little thrill of excitement, 
expecting to find in each some guide 
by which he could rule his conduct; 
he felt himself like a traveller in un- 
known countries and as he pushed 
forward the enterprise fascinated him; 
he read emotionally, as other men 
read pure literature, and his heart 
leaped as he discovered in noble words 
what himself had obscurely felt. His 
mind was concrete and moved with 
difficulty in regions of the abstract; 
but, even when he could not follow 
the reasoning, it gave him a curious 
pleasure to follow the tortuosities of 
thoughts that threaded their nimble 
way on the edge of the incompre- 
hensible. Sometimes great philosophers 
seemed to have nothing to say to him, 
but at others he recognised a mind 
with which he felt himself at home. 
He was like the explorer in Central 
Africa who comes suddenly upon wide 
uplands, with great trees in them 
and stretches of meadow, so that he 
might fancy himself in an English 



park. He delighted in the robust com- 
mon sense of Thomas Hobbes; Spi- 
noza filled him with awe, he had 
never before come in contact with a 
mind so noble, so unapproachable and 
austere; it reminded him of that statue 
by Rodin, UAge d'Airain, which 
he passionately admired; and then 
there was Hume: the scepticism of 
that charming philosopher touched a 
kindred note in Philip; and, revelling 
in the lucid style which seemed able 
to put complicated thought into simple 
words, musical and measured, he read 
as he might have read a novel, a 
smile of pleasure on his lips. But in 
none could he find exactly what he 
wanted. He had read somewhere that 
every man was bom a Platonist, an 
Aristotelian, a Stoic, or an Epicurean; 
and the history of George Henry 
Lewes (besides telling you that philos- 
ophy was all moonshine) was there 
to show that the thought of each 
philosopher was inseparably connected 
with the man he was. When you 
knew that you could guess to a great 
extent the philosophy he wrote. It 
looked as though you did not act in a 
certain way because you thought in a 
certain way, but rather that you 
thought in a certain way because you 
were made in a certain way. Truth had 
nothing to do with it. There was no 
such thing as truth. Each man was 
his own philosopher, and the elaborate 
systems which the great men of the 
past had composed were only valid for 
the writers. 

The thing then was to discover 
what one was and one's system of 
philosophy would devise itself. It 
seemed to Philip that there were 
three things to find out: man's rela- 
tion to the world he lives in, man's 
relation with the men among whom 
he lives, and finally man's relation to 
himself. He made an elaborate plan 
of studv. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



189 



The advantage of living abroad is 
that, coming in contact with the man- 
ners and customs of the people among 
whom you live, you observe them 
from the outside and see that they 
have not the necessity which those 
who practise them believe. You can- 
not fail to discover that the beliefs 
which to you are self-evident to the 
foreigner are absurd. The year in 
Germany, the long stay in Paris, had 
prepared Philip to receive the scepti- 
cal teaching which came to him now 
with such a feeling of relief. He saw 
that nothing was good and nothing 
was evil; things were merely adapted 
to an end. He read The Origin of 
Species, It seemed to offer an ex- 
planation of much that troubled him. 
He was like an explorer now who 
has reasoned that certain natural fea- 
tures must present themselves, and, 
beating up a broad river, finds here 
the tributary that he expected, there 
the fertile, populated plains, and 
further on the mountains. When some 
great discovery is made the world is 
surprised afterwards that it was not 
accepted at once, and even on those 
who acknowledge its truth the effect 
is unimportant. The first readers of 
The Origin of Species accepted it 
with their reason; but their emotions, 
which are the ground of conduct, were 
untouched. Philip was bom a genera- 
tion after this great book was pub- 
lished, and much that horrified its 
contemporaries had passed into the 
feeling of the time, so that he was 
able to accept it with a joyful heart. 
He was intensely moved by the 
grandeur of the struggle for life, and 
the ethical rule which it suggested 
seemed to fit in with his predisposi- 
tions. He said to himself that might 
was right. Society stood on one side, 
an organism with its own laws of 
growth and self-preservation, while 
the individual stood on the other. 



The actions which were to the ad- 
vantage of society it termed virtuous 
and those which were not it called 
vicious. Good and evil meant nothing 
more than that. Sin was a prejudice 
from which the free man should rid 
himself. Society had three arms in its 
contest vidth the individual, laws, pub- 
lic opinion, and conscience: the first 
two could be met by guile, guile is 
the only weapon of the weak against 
the strong: common opinion put the 
matter well when it stated that sin 
consisted in being found out; but con- 
science was the traitor within the gates; 
it fought in each heart the battle of 
society, and caused the individual to 
throw himself, a wanton sacrifice, to 
the prosperity of his enemy. For it 
was clear that the two were irrecon- 
cilable, the state and the individual 
conscious of himself. That uses the 
individual for its own ends, tram- 
pling upon him if he thwarts it, re- 
warding him with medals, pensions, 
honours, when he serves it faithfully; 
this, strong only in his independence, 
threads his way through the state, 
for convenience' sake, paying in money 
or service for certain benefits, but 
with no sense of obligation; and, in- 
different to the rewards, asks only to 
be left alone. He is the independent 
traveller, who uses Cook's tickets be- 
cause they save trouble, but looks 
with good-humoured contempt on the 
personally conducted parties. The free 
man can do no wrong. He does every- 
thing he likes— if he can. His power 
is the only measure of his morality. 
He recognises the laws of the state 
and he can break them without sense 
of sin, but if he is punished he ac- 
cepts the punishment v^dthout ran- 
cour. Society has the power. 

But if for the individual there was 
no right and no wrong, then it seemed 
to Philip that conscience lost its 
power. It was with a cry of triumph 



190 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



that he seized the knave and flung 
him from his breast. But he was no 
nearer to the meaning of Hfe than 
he had been before. Why the world 
was there and what men had come 
into existence for at all was as inex- 
plicable as ever. Surely there must 
be some reason. He thought of Cron- 
shaw's parable of the Persian carpet. 
He oflFered it as a solution of the 
riddle, and mysteriously he stated that 



it was no answer at all unless you 
found it out for yourself. 

"I wonder what the devil he meant," 
Philip smiled. 

And so, on the last day of Septem- 
ber, eager to put into practice all these 
new theories of life, Philip, with six- 
teen hundred pounds and his club- 
foot, set out for the second time to 
London to make his third start in 
life. 



LIV 



The examination Philip had passed 
before he was articled to a chartered 
accountant was sufficient qualification 
for him to enter a medical school. He 
chose St. Luke's because his father 
had been a student there, and before 
the end of the summer session had 
gone up to London for a day in order 
to see the secretary. He got a list of 
rooms from him, and took lodgings 
in a dingy house which had the ad- 
vantage of being within two minutes' 
walk of the hospital. 

"You'll have to arrange about a 
part to dissect," the secretary told him. 
"You'd better start on a leg; they 
generally do; they seem to think it 
easier." 

Philip found that his first lecture 
was in anatomy, at eleven, and about 
half past ten he limped across the 
road, and a little nervously made his 
way to the Medical School. Just in- 
side the door a number of notices 
were pinned up, Hsts of lectures, foot- 
ball fixtures, and the like; and these 
he looked at idly, trying to seem at 
his ease. Young men and boys dribbled 
in and looked for letters in the rack, 
chatted with one another, and passed 
downstairs to the basement, in which 
was the students' reading-room. Philip 



saw several fellows with a desultory, 
timid look dawdling around, and sur- 
mised that, like himself, they were 
there for the first time. When he had 
exhausted the notices he saw a glass 
door which led into what was ap- 
parently a museum, and having still 
twenty minutes to spare he walked in. 
It was a collection of pathological 
specimens. Presently a boy of about 
eighteen came up to him. 

"I say, are you first year?" he said. 

"Yes," answered Philip. 

"Where's the lecture room, d'you 
know? It's getting on for eleven." 

"We'd better try to find it." 

They walked out of the museum 
into a long, dark corridor, with the 
walls painted in two shades of red, 
and other youths walking along sug- 
gested the way to them. They came to 
a door marked Anatomy Theatre. 
Philip found that there were a good 
many people already there. The seats 
were arranged in tiers, and just as 
Philip entered an attendant came in, 
put a glass of water on the table in 
the well of the lecture-room and then 
brought in a pelvis and two thigh- 
bones, right and left. More men en- 
tered and took their seats and by eleven 
the theatre was fairly full. There were 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



191 



about sixty students. For the most part 
they were a good deal younger than 
Phihp, smooth-faced boys of eighteen, 
but there were a few who were older 
than he: he noticed one tall man, with 
a fierce red moustache, who might 
have been thirty; another little fellow 
with black hair, only a year or two 
younger; and there was one man with 
spectacles and a beard which was quite 
gray. 

The lecturer came in, Mr. 
Cameron, a handsome man with white 
hair and clean-cut features. He called 
out the long list of names. Then he 
made a little speech. He spoke in a 
pleasant voice, with well-chosen 
words, and he seemed to take a dis- 
creet pleasure in their careful arrange- 
ment. He suggested one or two books 
which they might buy and advised 
the purchase of a skeleton. He spoke 
of anatomy with enthusiasm: it was 
essential to the study of Surgery; a 
knowledge of it added to the apprecia- 
tion of art. Philip pricked up his ears. 
He heard later that Mr. Cameron 
lectured also to the students at the 
Royal Academy. He had lived many 
years in Japan, with a post at the 
University of Tokio, and he flattered 
himself on his appreciation of the 
beautiful. 

"You will have to learn many tedi- 
ous things," he finished, with an in- 
dulgent smile, "which you will forget 
the moment you have passed your 
final examination, but in anatomy it 
is better to have learned and lost than 
never to have learned at all." 

He took up the pelvis which was 
lying on the table and began to de- 
scribe it. He spoke well and clearly. 

At the end of the lecture the boy 
who had spoken to Philip in the 
pathological museum and sat next to 
him in the theatre suggested that they 
should go to the dissecting-room. 
Philip and he walked along the cor- 



ridor again, and an attendant told 
them where it was. As soon as they 
entered Philip understood what the 
acrid smell was which he had noticed 
in the passage. He lit a pipe. The at- 
tendant gave a short laugh. 

"You'll soon get used to the smell. 
I don't notice it myself." 

He asked Philip's name and looked 
at a Hst on the board. 

"You've got a leg— number four." 

Philip saw that another name was 
bracketed with his own. 

"What's the meaning of that?" he 
asked. 

"We're very short of bodies just 
now. We've had to put two on each 
part." 

The dissecting-room was a large 
apartment painted Hke the corridors, 
the upper part a rich salmon and the 
dado a dark terra-cotta. At regular in- 
tervals down the long sides of the 
room, at right angles with the wall, 
were iron slabs, grooved like meat- 
dishes; and on each lay a body. Most 
of them were men. They were very 
dark from the preservative in which 
they had been kept, and the skin had 
almost the look of leather. They were 
extremely emaciated. The attendant 
took Philip up to one of the slabs. 
A youth was standing by it. 

"Is your name Carey?" he asked. 

"Yes." 

"Oh, then we've got this leg to- 
gether. It's lucky it's a man, isn't it?" 

"Why?" asked Philip. 

"They generally always like a male 
better," said the attendant. "A female's 
liable to have a lot of fat about her." 

Philip looked at the body. The 
arms and legs were so thin that there 
was no shape in them, and the ribs 
stood out so that the skin over them 
was tense. A man of about forty-five 
with a thin, gray beard, and on his 
skull scanty, colourless hair: the eyes 
were closed and the lower jaw sunken. 



192 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Philip could not feel that this had 
ever been a man, and yet in the row 
of them there was something terrible 
and ghastly. 

"I thought I'd start at two," said 
the young man who was dissecting 
with Philip. 

"All right, I'll be here then." 

He had bought the day before the 
case of instruments which was need- 
ful, and now he was given a locker. 
He looked at the boy who had ac- 
companied him into the dissecting- 
room and saw that he was white. 

"Make you feel rotten?" Phihp 
asked him. 

"I've never seen anyone dead be- 
fore." 

They walked along the corridor till 
they came to the entrance of the 
school. Philip remembered Fanny 
Price. She was the first dead person 
he had ever seen, and he remembered 
how strangely it had affected him. 
There was an immeasurable distance 
between the quick and the dead: they 
did not seem to belong to the same 
species; and it was strange to think 
that but a little while before they had 
spoken and moved and eaten and 
laughed. There was something hor- 
rible about the dead, and you could 
imagine that they might cast an evil 
influence on the living. 

"What d'you say to having some- 
thing to eat?" said his new friend to 
Philip. 

They went dovra into the base- 
ment, where there was a dark room 
fitted up as a restaurant, and here 
the students were able to get the same 
sort of fare as they might have at an 
aerated bread shop. While they ate 
(Philip had a scone and butter and a 
cup of chocolate), he discovered that 
his companion was called Dunsford. 
He was a fresh-complexioned lad, 
with pleasant blue eyes and curly, 
dark hair, large-limbed, slow of speech 



and movement. He had just come 
from Clifton. 

"Are you taking the Conjoint'?" he 
asked Philip. 

"Yes, I want to get qualified as 
soon as I can." 

"I'm taking it too, but I shall take 
the F. R. C. S. afterwards. I'm going 
in for surgery." 

Most of the students took the cur- 
riculum of the Conjoint Board of the 
College of Surgeons and the College 
of Physicians; but the more ambitious 
or the more industrious added to this 
the longer studies which led to a 
degree from the University of Lon- 
don. When Philip went to St. Luke's 
changes had recently been made in 
the regulations, and the course took 
five years instead of four as it had 
done for those who registered before 
the autumn of 1892. Dunsford was 
well up in his plans and told Philip 
the usual course of events. The "first 
conjoint" examination consisted of 
Biology, Anatomy, and Chemistry; 
but it could be taken in sections, and 
most fellows took their biology three 
months after entering the school. This 
science had been recently added to 
the list of subjects upon which the 
student was obliged to inform him- 
self, but the amount of knowledge re- 
quired was very small. 

When Philip went back to the dis- 
secting-room, he was a few minutes 
late, since he had forgotten to buy 
the loose sleeves which they wore to 
protect their shirts, and he found a 
number of men already working. His 
partner had started on the minute 
and was busy dissecting out cutaneous 
nerves. Two others were engaged on 
the second leg, and more were oc- 
cupied with the arms. 

"You don't mind my having 
started?" 

"That's all right, fire away," said 
Philip. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



He took the book, open at a dia- 
gram of the dissected part, and looked 
at what they had to find. 

"You're rather a dab at this," said 
Phihp. 

"Oh, I've done a good deal of dis- 
secting before, animals, you know, 
for the Pre Sci." 

There was a certain amount of 
conversation over the dissecting-table, 
partly about the work, partly about 
the prospects of the football season, 
the demonstrators, and the lectures. 
Philip felt himself a great deal older 
than the others. They were raw school- 
boys. But age is a matter of knowl- 
edge rather than of years; and Newson, 
the active young man who was dis- 
secting with him, was very much at 
home with his subject. He was per- 
haps not sorry to show off, and he 
explained very fully to Philip what 
he was about. Philip, notwithstanding 
his hidden stores of wisdom, listened 
meekly. Then Philip took up the 
scalpel and the tweezers and began 
working while the other looked on. 

"Ripping to have him so thin," said 
Newson, wiping his hands. "The 
blighter can't have had anything to 
eat for a month." 

"I wonder what he died of," mur- 
mured Philip. 

"Oh, I don't know, any old thing, 
starvation chiefly, I suppose. ... I 
say, look out, don't cut that artery." 

"It's all very fine to say, don't cut 



193 

that artery," remarked one of the men 
working on the opposite leg. "Silly 
old fool's got an artery in the wrong 
place." 

"Arteries always are in the wrong 
place," said Newson. "The normal's 
the one thing you practically never 
get. That's why it's called the normal." 

"Don't say things like that," said 
Philip, "or I shall cut myself." 

"If you cut yourself," answered 
Newson, full of information, "wash 
it at once with antiseptic. It's the 
one thing you've got to be careful 
about. There was a chap here last 
year who gave himself only a prick, 
and he didn't bother about it, and he 
got septicaemia." 

"Did he get all right?" 

"Oh, no, he died in a week. I 
went and had a look at him in the 
P. M. room." 

Philip's back ached by the time it 
was proper to have tea, and his lunch- 
eon had been so light that he was 
quite ready for it. His hands smelt 
of that peculiar odour which he had 
first noticed that morning in the cor- 
ridor. He thought his muffin tasted of 
it too. 

"Oh, you'll get used to that," said 
Newson. "When you don't have the 
good old dissecting-room stink about, 
you feel quite lonely." 

"I'm not going to let it spoil my 
appetite," said Philip, as he followed 
up the muffin with a piece of cake. 



LV 



Philip's ideas of the life of medi- 
cal students, like those of the public at 
large, were founded on the pictures 
which Charles Dickens drew in the 
middle of the nineteenth century. He 
soon discovered that Bob Sawyer, if 



he ever existed, was no longer at all 
like the medical student of the present. 
It is a mixed lot which enters upon 
the medical profession, and naturally 
there are some who are lazy and reck- 
less. They think it is an easy life, 



194 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



idle away a couple of years; and then, 
because their funds come to an end 
or because angry parents refuse any 
longer to support them, drift away 
from the hospital. Others find the 
examinations too hard for them; one 
failure after another robs them of their 
nerve; and, panic-stricken, they forget 
as soon as they come into the for- 
bidding buildings of the Conjoint 
Board the knowledge which before 
they had so pat. They remain year 
after year, objects of good-humoured 
scorn to younger men: some of them 
crawl through the examination of the 
Apothecaries Hall; others become non- 
qualified assistants, a precarious posi- 
tion in which they are at the mercy 
of their employer; their lot is poverty, 
drunkenness, and Heaven only knows 
their end. But for the most part medi- 
cal students are industrious young 
men of the middle-class with a suf- 
ficient allowance to live in the re- 
spectable fashion they have been 
used to; many are the sons of doctors 
who have already something of the 
professional manner; their career is 
mapped out: as soon as they are 
qualified they propose to apply for a 
hospital appointment, after holding 
which (and perhaps a trip to the 
Far East as a ship's doctor), they will 
join their father and spend the rest 
of their days in a country practice. 
One or two are marked out as ex- 
ceptionally brilliant: they will take 
the various prizes and scholarships 
which are open each year to the de- 
serving, get one appointment after an- 
other at the hospital, go on the staff, 
take a consulting-room in Harley Street 
and, specialising in one subject or an- 
other, become prosperous, eminent, 
and titled. 

The medical profession is the only 
one which a man may enter at any 
age with some chance of making a 
living. Among the men of Philip's 



year were three or four who were past 
their first youth: one had been in the 
Navy, from which according to re- 
port he had been dismissed for drunk- 
enness; he was a man of thirty, with 
a red face, a brusque manner, and a 
loud voice. Another was a married 
man with two children, who had lost 
money through a defaulting solicitor; 
he had a bowed look as if the world 
were too much for him; he went about 
his work silently, and it was plain 
that he found it difficult at his age 
to commit facts to memory. His mind 
worked slowly. His effort at applica- 
tion was painful to see. 

Philip made himself at home in 
his tiny rooms. He arranged his books 
and hung on the walls such pictures 
and sketches as he possessed. Above 
him, on the drawing-room floor, lived 
a fifth-year man called Griffiths; but 
Philip saw little of him, partly be- 
cause he was occupied chiefly in the 
wards and partly because he had been 
to Oxford. Such of the students as 
had been to a university kept a good 
deal together: they used a variety of 
means natural to the young in order 
to impress upon the less fortunate a 
proper sense of their inferiority; the 
rest of the students found their Olym- 
pian serenity rather hard to bear. 
Griffiths was a tall fellow, with a 
quantity of curly red hair and blue 
eyes, a white skin and a very red 
mouth; he was one of those fortunate 
people whom everybody liked, for he 
had high spirits and a constant gaiety. 
He strummed a little on the piano 
and sang comic songs with gusto; and 
evening after evening, while Philip 
was reading in his solitary room, he 
heard the shouts and the uproarious 
laughter of Griffiths' friends above 
him. He thought of those delightful 
evenings in Paris when they would 
sit in the studio, Lawson and he, 
Flanagan and Glutton, and talk of art 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



195 



and morals, the love-affairs of the 
present, and the fame of the future. 
He felt sick at heart. He found that 
it was easy to make a heroic gesture, 
but hard to abide by its results. The 
worst of it was that the work seemed 
to him very tedious. He had got out 
of the habit of being asked questions 
by demonstrators. His attention wan- 
dered at lectures. Anatomy was a 
dreary science, a mere matter of learn- 
ing by heart an enormous number of 
facts; dissection bored him; he did 
not see the use of dissecting out la- 
boriously nerves and arteries when 
with much less trouble you could see 
in the diagrams of a book or in the 
specimens of the pathological museum 
exactly where they were. 

He made friends by chance, but 
not intimate friends, for he seemed to 
have nothing in particular to say to 
his companions. When he tried to 
interest himself in their concerns, he 
felt that they found him patronising. 
He was not of those who can talk of 
what moves them without caring 
whether it bores or not the people they 
talk to. One man, hearing that he had 
studied art in Paris, and fancying 
himself on his taste, tried to discuss 
art with him; but Philip was impatient 
of views which did not agree with 
his own; and, finding quickly that 
the other's ideas were conventional, 
grew monosyllabic. Philip desired pop- 
ularity but could bring himself to 
make no advances to others. A fear of 
rebuff prevented him from affability, 
and he concealed his shyness, which 
was still intense, under a frigid taci- 
turnity. He was going through the 
same experience as he had done at 
school, but here the freedom of the 
medical students* life made it possible 
for him to live a good deal by himself. 

It was through no effort of his that 
he became friendly with Dunsford, 
the fresh-complexioned, heavy lad 



whose acquaintance he had made at 
the beginning of the session. Duns- 
ford attached himself to Philip merely 
because he was the first person he had 
known at St. Luke's. He had no 
friends in London, and on Saturday 
nights he and Philip got into the habit 
of going together to the pit of a music- 
hall or the gallery of a theatre. He 
was stupid, but he was good-humoured 
and never took offence; he always 
said the obvious thing, but when 
Philip laughed at him merely smiled. 
He had a very sweet smile. Though 
Philip made him his butt, he liked 
him; he was amused by his candour 
and delighted with his agreeable na- 
ture: Dunsford had the charm which 
himself was acutely conscious of not 
possessing. 

They often went to have tea at a 
shop in Parliament Street, because 
Dunsford admired one of the young 
women who waited. Philip did not 
find anything attractive in her. She 
was tall and thin, with narrow hips 
and the chest of a boy. 

"No one would look at her in 
Paris," said Philip scornfully. 

"She's got a ripping face," said 
Dunsford. 

"What does the face matter?" 

She had the small regular features, 
the blue eyes, and the broad low brow, 
which the Victorian painters. Lord 
Leighton, Alma Tadema, and a hun- 
dred others, induced the world they 
lived in to accept as a type of Greek 
beauty. She seemed to have a great 
deal of hair: it was arranged with 
peculiar elaboration and done over 
the forehead in what she called an 
Alexandra fringe. She was very anae- 
mic. Her thin lips were pale, and her 
skin was delicate, of a faint green 
colour, without a touch of red even 
in the cheeks. She had very good 
teeth. She took great pains to prevent 
her work from spoihng her hands, and 



196 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



they were small, thin, and white. She 
went about her duties with a bored 
look. 

Dunsford, very shy with women, 
had never succeeded in getting into 
conversation with her; and he urged 
Philip to help him. 

"All I want is a lead,*' he said, 
"and then I can manage for myself." 

Philip, to please him, made one or 
two remarks, but she answered with 
monosyllables. She had taken their 
measure. They were boys, and she 
surmised they were students. She had 
no use for them. Dunsford noticed 
that a man with sandy hair and a 
bristly moustache, who looked like a 
German, was favoured with her at- 
tention whenever he came into the 
shop; and then it was only by calling 
her two or three times that they could 
induce her to take their order. She 
used the clients whom she did not 
know with frigid insolence, and when 
she was talking to a friend was per- 
fectly indifferent to the calls of the 
hurried. She had the art of treating 
women who desired refreshment with 
just that degree of impertinence which 
irritated them without affording them 
an opportunity of complaining to the 
management. One day Dunsford told 
him her name was Mildred. He had 
heard one of the other girls in the 
shop address her. 

"What an odious name," said 
Philip. 

"Why^" asked Dunsford. "I Hke it." 

"It's so pretentious." 

It chanced that on this day the 
German was not there, and, when 
she brought the tea, Philip, smiling, 
remarked : 

"Your friend's not here today." 

"I don't know what you mean," 
she said coldly. 

"I was referring to the nobleman 
with the sandy moustache. Has he 
left you for another^" 



"Some people would do better to 
mind their own business," she re- 
torted. 

She left them, and, since for a 
minute or two there was no one to 
attend to, sat down and looked at the 
evening paper which a customer had 
left behind him. 

"You are a fool to put her back up," 
said Dunsford. 

"I'm really quite indifferent to the 
attitude of her vertebrae," replied 
Philip. 

But he was piqued. It irritated him 
that when he tried to be agreeable 
with a woman she should take offence. 
When he asked for the bill, he haz- 
arded a remark which he meant to 
lead further. 

"Are we no longer on speaking 
terms?" he smiled. 

"I'm here to take orders and to wait 
on customers. I've got nothing to say 
to them, and I don't want them to say 
anything to me." 

She put down the slip of paper 
on which she had marked the sum 
they had to pay, and walked back 
to the table at which she had been 
sitting. Philip flushed with anger. 

"That's one in the eye for you, 
Carey," said Dunsford, when they got 
outside. 

"Ill-mannered slut," said Philip. "I 
shan't go there again." 

His influence with Dunsford was 
strong enough to get him to take their 
tea elsewhere, and Dunsford soon 
found another young woman to flirt 
with. But the snub which the wait- 
ress had inflicted on him rankled. If 
she had treated him with civility he 
would have been perfectly indifferent 
to her; but it was obvious that she 
disliked him rather than otherwise, 
and his pride was wounded. He could 
not suppress a desire to be even with 
her. He was impatient with himself 
because he had so petty a feeling, 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



197 



but three or four days' firmness, dur- 
ing which he would not go to the 
shop, did not help him to surmount 
it; and he came to the conclusion 
that it would be least trouble to see 
her. Having done so he would cer- 
tainly cease to think of her. Pretext- 
ing an appointment one afternoon, 
for he was not a little ashamed of his 
weakness, he left Dunsford and went 
straight to the shop which he had 
voWed never again to enter. He saw 
the waitress the moment he came in 
and sat down at one of her tables. 
He expected her to make some ref- 
erence to the fact that he had not 
been there for a week, but when she 
came up for his order she said nothing. 
He had heard her say to other custom- 
ers: 

'Tou're quite a stranger." 

She gave no sign that she had 
ever seen him before. In order to see 
whether she had really forgotten him, 
when she brought his tea, he asked: 

"Have you seen my friend tonight?" 



"No, he's not been in here for 
some days." 

He wanted to use this as the be- 
ginning of a conversation, but he was 
strangely nervous and could think of 
nothing to say. She gave him no op- 
portunity, but at once went away. He 
had no chance of saying anything till 
he asked for his bill. 

"Filthy weather, isn't it?" he said. 

It was mortifying that he had been 
forced to prepare such a phrase as 
that. He could not make out why she 
filled him with such embarrassment. 

"It don't make much difference to 
me what the weather is, having to be 
in here all day." 

There was an insolence in her tone 
that peculiarly irritated him. A sar- 
casm rose to his Hps, but he forced 
himself to be silent. 

"I wash to God she'd say something 
really cheeky," he raged to himself, 
"so that I could report her and get 
her sacked. It would serve her damned 
well right." 



LVI 



He could not get her out of his 
mind. He laughed angrily at his own 
foolishness: it was absurd to care what 
an anemic little waitress said to him; 
but he was strangely humiliated. 
Though no one knew of the humilia- 
tion but Dunsford, and he had cer- 
tainly forgotten, Philip felt that he 
could have no peace till he had wiped 
it out. He thought over what he had 
better do. He made up his mind that 
he would go to the shop every day; 
it was obvious that he had made a 
disagreeable impression on her, but 
he thought he had the wits to eradi- 
cate it; he would take care not to say 
anything at which the most susceptible 



person could be offended. All this he 
did, but it had no effect. When he 
went in and said good-evening she 
answered with the same words, but 
when once he omitted to say it in 
order to see whether she would say it 
first, she said nothing at all. He mur- 
mured in his heart an expression 
which though frequently applicable 
to members of the female sex is not 
often used of them in polite society; 
but with an unmoved face he ordered 
his tea. He made up his mind not 
to speak a word, and left the shop 
without his usual good-night. He 
promised himself that he would not go 
any more, but the next day at tea-time 



198 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



he grew restless. He tried to think o£ 
other things, but he had no command 
over his thoughts. At last he said 
desperately: 

"After all there's no reason why I 
shouldn't go if I want to." 

The struggle with himself had taken 
a long time, and it was getting on 
for seven when he entered the shop. 

"I thought you weren't coming," 
the girl said to him, when he sat 
down. 

His heart leaped in his bosom and 
he felt himself reddening. "I was de- 
tained. I couldn't come before." 

"Cutting up people, I suppose?" 

"Not so bad as that." 

"You are a stoodent, aren't you?" 

"Yes." 

But that seemed to satisfy her curi- 
osity. She went away and, since at 
that late hour there was nobody else 
at her tables, she immersed herself in 
a novelette. This was before the time 
of the sixpenny reprints. There was a 
regular supply of inexpensive fiction 
written to order by poor hacks for the 
consumption of the illiterate. Philip 
was elated; she had addressed him of 
her own accord; he saw the time ap- 
proaching when his turn would come 
and he would tell her exactly what 
he thought of her. It would be a 
great comfort to express the immen- 
sity of his contempt. He looked at 
her. It was true that her profile was 
beautiful; it was extraordinary how 
English girls of that class had so often 
a perfection of outline which took 
your breath away, but it was as cold 
as marble; and the faint green of her 
delicate skin gave an impression of un- 
healthiness. All the waitresses were 
dressed alike, in plain black dresses, 
with a white apron, cuffs, and a small 
cap. On a half sheet of paper that 
he had in his pocket Philip made a 
sketch of her as she sat leaning over 
her book (she outlined the words with 



her lips as she read), and left it on 
the table when he went away. It 
was an inspiration, for next day, when 
he came in, she smiled at him. 

"I didn't know you could draw," 
she said. 

"I was an art-student in Paris for 
two years." 

"I showed that drawing you left 
be'ind you last night to the manageress 
and she was struck with it. Was it 
meant to be me?" 

"It was," said Philip. 

When she went for his tea, one of 
the other girls came up to him. 

"I saw that picture ^^ou done of Miss 
Rogers. It was the very image of her," 
she said. 

That was the first time he had heard 
her name, and when he wanted his 
bill he called her by it. 

"I see you know my name," she 
said, when she came. 

"Your friend mentioned it when 
she said something to me about that 
drawing." 

"She wants you to do one of her. 
Don't you do it. If you once begin 
you'll have to go on, and they'll all 
be wanting you to do them." Then 
without a pause, with peculiar in- 
consequence, she said: "Where's that 
young fellow that used to come with 
you? Has he gone away?" 

"Fancy you remembering him," said 
Philip. 

"He was a nice-looking young fel- 
low." 

Philip felt quite a peculiar sensa- 
tion in his heart. He did not know 
what it was. Dunsford had jolly curl- 
ing hair, a fresh complexion, and a 
beautiful smile. Philip thought of 
these advantages with envy. 

"Oh, he's in love," said he, with a 
little laugh. 

Philip repeated every word of the 
conversation to himself as he limped 
home. She was quite friendly with 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



199 



him now. When opportunity arose 
he would offer to make a more fin- 
ished sketch of her, he was sure she 
would like that; her face was interest- 
ing, the profile was lovely, and there 
was something curiously fascinating 
about the chlorotic colour. He tried to 
think what it was like; at first he 
thought of pea soup; but, driving away 
that idea angrily, he thought of the 
petals of a yellow rosebud when you 
toi6 it to pieces before it had burst. 
He had no ill-feeling towards her 
now. 

"She's not a bad sort," he mur- 
mured. 

It was silly of him to take offence 
at what she had said; it was doubtless 
his own fault; she had not meant to 
make herself disagreeable: he ought to 
be accustomed by now to making at 
first sight a bad impression on people. 
He was flattered at the success of his 
drawing; she looked upon him with 
more interest now that she was aware 
of this small talent. He was restless 
next day. He thought of going to 
lunch at the tea-shop, but he was 
certain there would be many people 
there then, and Mildred would not 
be able to talk to him. He had man- 
aged before this to get out of having 
tea with Dunsford, and, punctually 
at half past four (he had looked at his 
watch a dozen times), he went into 
the shop. 

Mildred had her back turned to 
him. She was sitting down, talking to 
the German whom Philip had seen 
there every day till a fortnight ago 
and since then had not seen at all. 
She was laughing at what he said. 
Philip thought she had a common 
laugh, and it made him shudder. He 
called her, but she took no notice; 
he called her again; then, growing 
angry, for he was impatient, he rapped 
the table loudly with his stick. She 
approached sulkily. 



"How d'you do?" he said. 

"You seem to be in a great hurry." 

She looked down at him with the 
insolent manner which he knew so 
well. 

"I say, what's the matter with you?" 
he asked. 

"If you'll kindly give your order 
I'll get what you want. I can't stand 
talking all night," 

"Tea and toasted bun, please," 
Philip answered briefly. 

He was furious with her. He had 
The Star with him and read it elabo- 
rately when she brought the tea. 

"If you'll give me my bill now I 
needn't trouble you again," he said 
icily. 

She wrote out the slip, placed it 
on the table, and went back to the 
German. Soon she was talking to him 
with animation. He was a man of 
middle height, with the round head 
of his nation and a sallow face; his 
moustache was large and bristling; he 
had on a tail-coat and gray trousers, 
and he wore a massive gold watch- 
chain. Philip thought the other girls 
looked from him to the pair at 
the table and exchanged significant 
glances. He felt certain they were 
laughing at him, and his blood boiled. 
He detested Mildred now with all his 
heart. He knew that the best thing 
he could do was to cease coming to 
the tea-shop, but he could not bear 
to think that he had been worsted 
in the affair, and he devised a plan 
to show her that he despised her. 
Next day he sat down at another table 
and ordered his tea from another wait- 
ress. Mildred's friend was there again 
and she was talking to him. She paid 
no attention to Philip, and so when he 
went out he chose a moment when she 
had to cross his path: as he passed 
he looked at her as though he had 
never seen her before. He repeated 



200 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



this for three or four days. He ex- 
pected that presently she would take 
the opportunity to say something to 
him; he thought she would ask why 
he never came to one of her tables 
now, and he had prepared an answer 
charged with all the loathing he felt 
for her. He knew it was absurd to 
trouble, but he could not help him- 
self. She had beaten him again. The 
German suddenly disappeared, but 
Philip still sat at other tables. She 
paid no attention to him. Suddenly 
he realised that what he did was a 
matter of complete indifference to her; 
he could go on in that way till dooms- 
day, and it would have no effect. 

"IVe not finished yet," he said to 
himself. 

The day after he sat down in his 
old seat, and when she came up said 
good-evening as though he had not 
ignored her for a week. His face was 
placid, but he could not prevent the 
mad beating of his heart. At that time 
the musical comedy had lately leaped 



into public favour, and he was sure 
that Mildred would be delighted to 
go to one. 

"I say,*' he said suddenly, "I won- 
der if you'd dine with me one night 
and come to The Belle of New York. 
ril get a couple of stalls.'* 

He added the last sentence in order 
to tempt her. He knew that when 
the girls went to the play it was either 
in the pit, or, if some man took them, 
seldom to more expensive seats than 
the upper circle. Mildred's pale face 
showed no change of expression. 

*1 don't mind," she said. 

'When will you come?" 

T get off early on Thursdays." 

They made arrangements. Mildred 
lived with an aunt at Heme Hill. 
The play began at eight so they must 
dine at seven. She proposed that he 
should meet her in the second-class 
waiting-room at Victoria Station. She 
showed no pleasure, but accepted the 
invitation as though she conferred a 
favour. Philip was vaguely irritated. 



LVII 



Philip arrived at Victoria Station 
nearly half an hour before the time 
which Mildred had appointed, and 
sat down in the second-class waiting- 
room. He waited and she did not 
come. He began to grow anxious, and 
walked into the station watching the 
incoming suburban trains; the hour 
which she had fixed passed, and still 
there was no sign of her. Philip was 
impatient. He went into the other 
waiting-rooms and looked at the people 
sitting in them. Suddenly his heart 
gave a great thud. 

"There you are. I thought you were 
never coming." 

"I like that after keeping me wait- 



ing all this time. I had half a mind to 
go back home again." 

"But you said you'd come to the 
second-class waiting-room." 

"I didn't say any such thing. It 
isn't exactly likely I'd sit in the second- 
class room when I could sit in the 
first, is iti^" 

Though Philip was sure he had not 
made a mistake, he said nothing, and 
they got into a cab. 

"Where are we dining?" she asked. 

"I thought of the Adelphi Restau- 
rant. Will that suit you?" 

"I don't mind where we dine." 

She spoke ungraciously. She was 
put out by being kept waiting and an- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



20] 



swered Philip's attempt at conversation 
with monosyllables. She wore a long 
cloak of some rough, dark material 
and a crochet shawl over her head. 
They reached the restaurant and sat 
down at a table. She looked round 
with satisfaction. The red shades to 
the candles on the tables, the gold of 
the decorations, the looking-glasses, 
lent the room a sumptuous air. 

"I've never been here before." 

She gave Philip a smile. She had 
taken off her cloak; and he saw that 
she wore a pale blue dress, cut square 
at the neck; and her hair was more 
elaborately arranged than ever. He 
had ordered champagne and when it 
came her eyes sparkled. 

"You are going it," she said. 

"Because I've ordered fiz?" he asked 
carelessly, as though he never drank 
anything else. 

"I was surprised when you asked 
me to do a theatre with you." 

Conversation did not go very easily, 
for she did not seem to have much 
to say; and Philip was nervously con- 
scious that he was not amusing her. 
She listened carelessly to his remarks, 
with her eyes on other diners, and 
made no pretence that she was in- 
terested in him. He made one or two 
little jokes, but she took them quite 
seriously. The only sign of vivacity 
he got was when he spoke of the other 
girls in the shop; she could not bear 
the manageress and told him all her 
misdeeds at length. 

"I can't stick her at any price and 
all the air she gives herself. Sometimes 
I've got more than half a mind to 
tell her something she doesn't think I 
know anything about." 

"What is that?" asked Philip. 

"Well, I happen to know that she's 
not above going to Eastbourne with a 
man for the week-end now and again. 
One of the girls has a married sister 
who goes there with her husband, and 



she's seen her. She was staying at the 
same boarding-house, and she 'ad a 
wedding-ring on, and I know for one 
she's not married." 

Philip filled her glass, hoping that 
champagne would make her more af- 
fable; he was anxious that his little 
jaunt should be a success. He noticed 
that she held her knife as though it 
were a pen-holder, and when she 
drank protruded her little finger. He 
started several topics of conversation, 
but he could get little out of her, and 
he remembered with irritation that he 
had seen her talking nineteen to the 
dozen and laughing with the German. 
They finished dinner and went to the 
play. Philip was a very cultured 
young man, and he looked upon mu- 
sical comedy with scorn. He thought 
the jokes vulgar and the melodies ob- 
vious; it seemed to him that they did 
these things much better in France; 
but Mildred enjoyed herself thor- 
oughly; she laughed till her sides 
ached, looking at Philip now and then 
when something tickled her to ex- 
change a glance of pleasure; and she 
applauded rapturously. 

"This is the seventh time I've been," 
she said, after the first act, "and I 
don't mind if I come seven times 
more." 

She was much interested in the 
women who surrounded them in the 
stalls. She pointed out to Philip those 
who were painted and those who wore 
false hair. 

"It is horrible, these West-end peo- 
ple," she said. "I don't know how they 
can do it." She put her hand to her 
hair. "Mine's all my own, every bit 
of it." 

She found no one to admire, and 
whenever she spoke of anyone it was 
to say something disagreeable. It made 
Philip uneasy. He supposed that next 
day she would tell the girls in the 
shop that he had taken her out and 



202 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



that he had bored her to death. He 
dishked her, and yet, he knew not 
why, he wanted to be with her. On 
the way home he asked: 

"I hope you ve enjoyed yourself?" 

"Rather." 

"Will you come out with me again 
one evening?" 

"I don't mind." 

He could never get beyond such 
expressions as that. Her indifference 
maddened him. 

"That sounds as if you didn't much 
care if you came or not," 

"Oh, if you don't take me out some 
other fellow will. I need never want 
for men who'll take me to the theatre." 

Philip was silent. They came to the 
station, and he went to the booking- 
office. 

"I've got my season," she said. 

"I thought Vd take you home as 
it's rather late, if you don't mind." 

"Oh, I don't mind if it gives you 
any pleasure." 

He took a single first for her and a 
return for himself. 

"Well, you're not mean, I will say 
that for you," she said, when he 
opened the carriage-door. 

Philip did not know whether he 
was pleased or sorry when other peo- 
ple entered and it was impossible to 
speak. They got out at Heme Hill, 
and he accompanied her to the corner 
of the road in which she lived. 

"I'll say good-night to you here," 
she said, holding out her hand. "You'd 
better not come up to the door. I 
know what people are, and I don't 
want to have anybody talking." 

She said good-night and walked 
quickly away. He could see the white 
shawl in the darkness. He thought she 
might turn round, but she did not. 
Philip saw which house she went into, 
and in a moment he walked along to 
look at it. It was a trim, common little 
house of yellow brick, exactly like all 



the other little houses in the street. 
He stood outside for a few minutes, 
and presently the window on the top 
floor was darkened. Philip strolled 
slowly back to the station. The eve- 
ning had been unsatisfactory. He felt 
irritated, restless, and miserable. 

When he lay in bed he seemed still 
to see her sitting in the corner of the 
railway carriage, with the white 
crochet shawl over her head. He did 
not know how he was to get through 
the hours that must pass before his 
eyes rested on her again. He thought 
drowsily of her thin face, vdth its 
delicate features, and the greenish 
pallor of her skin. He was not happy 
with her, but he was unhappy away 
from her. He wanted to sit by her 
side and look at her, he wanted to 
touch her, he wanted . . .the thought 
came to him and he did not finish it, 
suddenly he grew wide awake , . . 
he wanted to kiss the thin, pale 
mouth with its narrow hps. The truth 
came to him at last. He was in love 
with her. It was incredible. 

He had often thought of falling in 
love, and there was one scene which 
he had pictured to himself over and 
over again. He saw himself coming 
into a ball-room; his eyes fell on a 
little group of men and women talk- 
ing; and one of the women turned 
round. Her eyes fell upon him, and 
he knew that the gasp in his throat 
was in her throat too. He stood quite 
still. She was tall and dark and beauti- 
ful with eyes like the night; she was 
dressed in white, and in her black 
hair shone diamonds; they stared at 
one another, forgetting that people 
surrounded them. He went straight up 
to her, and she moved a little towards 
him. Both felt that the formality of 
introduction was out of place. He 
spoke to her. 

"I've been looking for you all my 
life," he said. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



203 



"You've come at last," she mur- 
mured. 

"Will you dance with me?" 

She surrendered herself to his out- 
stretched hands and they danced. 
(Philip always pretended that he was 
not lame.) She danced divinely. 

"I've never danced with anyone 
who danced like you," she said. 

She tore up her programme, and 
they danced together the whole eve- 
ning. 

"I'm so thankful that I waited for 
you," he said to her. "I knew that in 
the end I must meet you." 

People in the ball-room stared. 
They did not care. They did not wish 
to hide their passion. At last they went 
into the garden. He flung a light cloak 
over her shoulders and put her in a 
waiting cab. They caught the mid- 
night train to Paris; and they sped 
through the silent, star-lit night into 
the unknown. 

He thought of this old fancy of his, 
and it seemed impossible that he 
should be in love with Mildred Rogers. 
Her name was grotesque. He did not 
think her pretty; he hated the thin- 
ness of her, only that evening he had 
noticed how the bones of her chest 
stood out in evening-dress; he went 
over her features one by one; he did 
not like her mouth, and the unhealthi- 
ness of her colour vaguely repelled 
him. She was common. Her phrases, 
so bald and few, constantly repeated, 
showed the emptiness of her mind; 
he recalled her vulgar little laugh at 



the jokes of the musical comedy; and 
he remembered the little finger care- 
fully extended when she held her glass 
to her mouth; her manners like her 
conversation, were odiously genteel. 
He remembered her insolence; some- 
times he had felt inclined to box her 
ears; and suddenly, he knew not why, 
perhaps it was the thought of hitting 
her or the recollection of her tiny, 
beautiful ears, he was seized by an 
uprush of emotion. He yearned for 
her. He thought of taking her in his 
arms, the thin, fragile body, and kiss- 
ing her pale mouth: he wanted to 
pass his fingers down the slightly 
greenish cheeks. He wanted her. 

He had thought of love as a rapture 
which seized one so that all the world 
seemed spring-like, he had looked for- 
ward to an ecstatic happiness; but this 
was not happiness; it was a hunger 
of the soul, it was a painful yearning, 
it was a bitter anguish he had never 
known before. He tried to think when 
it had first come to him. He did not 
know. He only remembered that each 
time he had gone into the shop, after 
the first two or three times, it had 
been with a little feeling in the heart 
that was pain; and he remembered 
that when she spoke to him he felt 
curiously breathless. When she left 
him it was wretchedness, and when 
she came to him again it was despair. 

He stretched himself in his bed 
as a dog stretches himself. He won- 
dered how he was going to endure 
that ceaseless aching of his soul. 



LVIII 



Philip woke early next morning, 
and his first thought was of Mildred. 
It struck him that he might meet 
her at Victoria Station and walk with 



her to the shop. He shaved quickly, 
scrambled into his clothes, and took 
a bus to the station. He was there by 
twenty to eight and watched the in- 



204 

coming trains. Crowds poured out of 
them, clerks and shop-people at that 
early hour, and thronged up the plat- 
form: they hurried along, sometimes 
in pairs, here and there a group of 
girls, but more often alone. They were 
white, most of them, ugly in the early 
morning, and they had an abstracted 
look; the younger ones walked lightly, 
as though the cement of the platform 
were pleasant to tread, but the others 
went as though impelled by a ma- 
chine: their faces were set in an anx- 
ious frown. 

At last Philip saw Mildred, and he 
went up to her eagerly. 

"Good-morning," he said. "I thought 
rd come and see how you were after 
last night." 

She wore an old brown ulster and 
a sailor hat. It was very clear that she 
was not pleased to see him. 

"Oh, Tm all right. I haven't got 
much time to waste." 

"D'you mind if I walk down 
Victoria Street with you?" 

"I'm none too early. I shall have to 
walk fast," she answered, looking 
down at PhiHp's club-foot. 

He turned scarlet. 

"I beg your pardon. I won't detain 
you." 

"You can please yourself." 

She went on, and he with a sinking 
heart made his way home to breakfast. 
He hated her. He knew he was a 
fool to bother about her; she was not 
the sort of woman who would ever 
care two straws for him, and she must 
look upon his deformity with dis- 
taste. He made up his mind that he 
would not go in to tea that afternoon, 
but, hating himself, he went. She 
nodded to him as he came in and 
smiled. 

"I expect I was rather short with 
you this morning," she said. "You see, 
I didn't expect you, and it came like 
a surprise." 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"Oh, it doesn't matter at all." 

He felt that a great weight had 
suddenly been lifted from him. He 
was infinitely grateful for one word 
of kindness. 

"Why don't you sit down?" he 
asked. "Nobody's wanting you just 
now." 

"I don't mind if I do." 

He looked at her, but could think 
of nothing to say; he racked his brains 
anxiously, seeking for a remark which 
should keep her by him; he wanted 
to tell her how much she meant to 
him; but he did not know how to 
make love now that he loved in ear- 
nest. 

"Where's your friend with the fair 
moustache? I haven't seen him lately." 

"Oh, he's gone back to Birmingham. 
He's in business there. He only comes 
up to London every now and again." 

"Is he in love with you?" 

'Tou'd better ask him," she said, 
with a laugh. "I don't know what 
it's got to do with you if he is." 

A bitter answer leaped to his tongue, 
but he was learning self-restraint. 

"I wonder why you say things like 
that," was all he permitted himself to 
say. 

She looked at him with those in- 
different eyes of hers. 

"It looks as if you didn't set much 
store on me," he added. 

"Why should I?" 

"No reason at all." 

He reached over for his paper. 

"You are quick-tempered," she said, 
when she saw the gesture. "You do 
take offence easily." 

He smiled and looked at her ap- 
pealingly. 

"Will you do something for me?" 
he asked. 

"That depends what it is." 

"Let me walk back to the station 
with you tonight." 

"I don't mind." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



He went out after tea and went 
back to his rooms, but at eight o'clock, 
when the shop closed, he was wait- 
ing outside. 

"You are a caution," she said, when 
she came out. "I don't understand 
you." 

"I shouldn't have thought it was 
very difficult," he answered bitterly. 

"Did any of the girls see you wait- 
ing for me?" 

"I don't know and I don't care." 

"They all laugh at you, you know. 
They say you're spoony on me." 

"Much you care," he muttered. 

"Now then, quarrelsome." 

At the station he took a ticket and 
said he was going to accompany her 
home. 

'Tou don't seem to have much to 
do with your time," she said. 

"I suppose I can waste it in my 
own way." 

They seemed to be always on the 
verge of a quarrel. The fact was that 
he hated himself for loving her. She 
seemed to be constantly humiliating 
him, and for each snub that he en- 
dured he owed her a grudge. But she 
was in a friendly mood that evening, 
and talkative: she told him that her 
parents were dead; she gave him to 
understand that she did not have to 
earn her living, but worked for amuse- 
ment. 

"My aunt doesn't like my going to 
business. I can have the best of every- 
thing at home. I don't want you to 
think I work because I need to." 

Philip knew that she was not speak- 
ing the truth. The gentility of her 
class made her use this pretence to 
avoid the stigma attached to earning 
her living. 

"My family's very well-connected," 
she said. 

Philip smiled faintly, and she no- 
ticed it. 

"What are you laughing at?" she 



205 

said quickly. "Don't you believe I'm 
telling you the truth?" 

"Of course I do," he answered. 

She looked at him suspiciously, 
but in a moment could not resist the 
temptation to impress him with the 
splendour of her early days. 

"My father always kept a dog-cart, 
and we had three servants. We had 
a cook and a housemaid and an odd 
man. We used to grow beautiful roses. 
People used to stop at the gate and 
ask who the house belonged to, the 
roses were so beautiful. Of course it 
isn't very nice for me having to mix 
with them girls in the shop, it's not 
the class of person I've been used to, 
and sometimes I really think I'll give 
up business on that account. It's not 
the work I mind, don't think that; 
but it's the class of people I have to 
mix with." 

They were sitting opposite one an- 
other in the train, and Philip, listen- 
ing sympathetically to what she said, 
was quite happy. He was amused at 
her naivete and slightly touched. 
There was a very faint colour in her 
cheeks. He was thinking that it would 
be delightful to kiss the tip of her 
chin. 

"The moment you come into the 
shop I saw you was a gentleman in 
every sense of the word. Was your 
father a professional man?" 

"He was a doctor." 

*Tou can always tell a professional 
man. There's somethirig about them, 
I don't know what it is, but I know 
at once." 

They walked along from the station 
together. 

"I say, I want you to come and see 
another play with me," he said. 

"I don't mind," she said. 

"You might go so far as to say you'd 
Hke to." 

"Whv?" 



2o6 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"It doesn't matter. Let's fix a day. 
Would Saturday night suit you?" 

"Yes, that'll do." 

They made further arrangements, 
and then found themselves at the cor- 
ner of the road in which she lived. 
She gave him her hand, and he held 
it. 

"I say, I do so awfully want to call 
you Mildred." 

"You may if you like, I don't care." 

"And you'll call me Philip, won't 
you?" 

"I will if I can think of it. It seems 
more natural to call you Mr. Carey." 

He drew her slightly towards him, 
but she leaned back. 

"What are you doing?" 

"Won't you kiss me good-night?" he 
whispered. 

"Impudence!" she said. 

She snatched away her hand and 
hurried towards her house. 

Philip bought tickets for Saturday 
night. It was not one of the days on 
which she got off early and therefore 
she would have no time to go home 
and change; but she meant to bring 
a frock up with her in the morning 
and hurry into her clothes at the shop. 
If the manageress was in a good tem- 
per she would let her go at seven. 
Philip had agreed to wait outside from 
a quarter past seven onwards. He 
looked forward to the occasion with 
painful eagerness, for in the cab on 
the way from the theatre to the sta- 
tion he thought she would let him 
kiss her. The vehicle gave every facil- 
ity for a man to put his arm round a 
girl's waist, (an advantage which the 
hansom had over the taxi of the pres- 
ent day,) and the delight of that was 
worth the cost of the evening's enter- 
tainment. 

But on Saturday afternoon when 
he went in to have tea, in order to 
confirm the arrangements, he met the 



man with the fair moustache coming 
out of the shop. He knew by now 
that he was called Miller. He was a 
naturalized German, who had angli- 
cised his name, and he had lived 
many years in England. Philip had 
heard him speak, and, though his 
English was fluent and natural, it had 
not quite the intonation of the native. 
Philip knew that he was flirting with 
Mildred, and he was horribly jealous 
of him; but he took comfort in the 
coldness of her temperament, which 
otherwise distressed him; and, thinking 
her incapable of passion, he looked 
upon his rival as no better off than 
himself. But his heart sank now, for 
his first thought was that Miller's sud- 
den appearance might interfere with 
the jaunt which he had so looked 
forward to. He entered, sick with ap- 
prehension. The waitress came up to 
him, took his order for tea, and pres- 
ently brought it. 

"I'm awfully sorry," she said, with 
an expression on her face of real dis- 
tress. "I shan't be able to come tonight 
after all." 

"Why?" said Philip. 

"Don't look so stem about it," she 
laughed. "It's not my fault. My aunt 
was taken ill last night, and it's the 
girl's night out so I must go and sit 
with her. She can't be left alone, can 
she?" 

"It doesn't matter. I'll see you home 
instead." 

"But you've got the tickets. It would 
be a pity to waste them." 

He took them out of his pocket 
and deliberately tore them up. 

"What are you doing that for?" 

"You don't suppose I want to go 
and see a rotten musical comedy by 
myself, do you? I only took seats there 
for your sake." 

"You can't see me home if that's 
what you mean?" 

"You've made other arrangements." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



207 



"I don't know what you mean by 
that. You're just as selfish as all the 
rest of them. You only think of your- 
self. It's not my fault if my aunt's 
queer." 

She quickly wrote out his bill and 
left him. Philip knew very little about 
women, or he would have been aware 
that one should accept their most 
transparent lies. He made up his mind 
that he would watch the shop and see 
for certain whether Mildred went out 
with the German. He had an un- 
happy passion for certainty. At seven 
he stationed himself on the opposite 
pavement. He looked about for Miller, 
but did not see him. In ten minutes 
she came out, she had on the cloak 
and shawl which she had worn when 
he took her to the Shaftesbury The- 
atre. It was obvious that she was not 
going home. She saw him before he 
had time to move away, started a little, 
and then came straight up to him. 

''What are you doing here?" she 
said. 

"Taking the air," he answered. 

"You're spying on me, you dirty lit- 
tle cad. I thought you was a gentle- 
man." 

"Did you think a gentleman would 
be likely to take any interest in you?" 
he murmured. 

There was a devil within him which 
forced him to make matters worse. He 
wanted to hurt her as much as she 
was hurting him. 

"I suppose I can change my mind 
if I like. I'm not obliged to come out 
with you. I tell you I'm going home, 
and I won't be followed or spied 
upon." 

"Have you seen Miller today?" 

"That's no business of yours. In 
point of fact I haven't, so you're 
wrong again." 

"I saw him this afternoon. He'd 
just come out of the shop when I 
went in." 



"Well, what if he did? I can go out 
with him if I want to, can't I? I don't 
know what you've got to say to it." 

"He's keeping vou waiting, isn't 
he?" 

"Well, I'd rather wait for him than 
have you wait for me. Put that in 
your pipe and smoke it. And now 
p'raps you'll go off home and mind 
your own business in future." 

His mood changed suddenly from 
anger to despair, and his voice trem- 
bled when he spoke. 

"I say, don't be beastly with me, 
Mildred. You know I'm awfully fond 
of you. I think I love you with all 
my heart. Won't you change your 
mind? I was looking forward to this 
evening so awfully. You see, he hasn't 
come, and he can't care twopence 
about you really. Won't you dine 
with me? I'll get some more tickets, 
and we'll go anywhere you like." 

"I tell you I won't. It's no good 
you talking. I've made up my mind, 
and when I make up my mind I 
keep to it." 

He looked at her for a moment. 
His heart was torn with anguish. Peo- 
ple were hurrying past them on the 
pavement, and cabs and omnibuses 
rolled by noisily. He saw that Mil- 
dred's eyes were wandering. She was 
afraid of missing Miller in the crowd. 

"I can't go on like this," groaned 
Philip. "It's too degrading. If I go now 
I go for good. Unless you'll come 
with me tonight you'll never see me 
again." 

"You seem to think that'll be an 
awful thing for me. All I say is, good 
riddance to bad rubbish." 

"Then good-bye." 

He nodded and limped away 
slowly, for he hoped with all his heart 
that she would call him back. At the 
next lamp-post he stopped and looked 
over his shoulder. He thought she 
might beckon to him— he was willing 



208 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



to forget everything, he was ready 
for any humiliation— but she had 
turned away, and apparently had 



ceased to trouble about him. He real- 
ised that she was glad to be quit of 
him. 



LIX 



Philip passed the evening wretch- 
edly. He had told his landlady that 
he would not be in, so there was 
nothing for him to eat, and he had 
to go to Gatti's for dinner. Afterwards 
he went back to his rooms, but 
Griffiths on the floor above him was 
having a party, and the noisy merri- 
ment made his ovv^n misery more hard 
to bear. He went to a music-hall, but 
it was Saturday night and there was 
standing-room only: after half an 
hour of boredom his legs grew tired 
and he went home. He tried to read, 
but he could not fix his attention; and 
yet it was necessary that he should 
work hard. His examination in biology 
was in little more than a fortnight, 
and, though it was easy, he had neg- 
lected his lectures of late and was 
conscious that he knew nothing. It 
was only a viva, however, and he felt 
sure that in a fortnight he could find 
out enough about the subject to scrape 
through. He had confidence in his 
intelligence. He threw aside his book 
and gave himself up to thinking de- 
liberately of the matter which was in 
his mind all the time. 

He reproached himself bitterly for 
his behaviour that evening. Why had 
he given her the alternative that she 
must dine with him or else never see 
him againi^ Of course she refused. He 
should have allowed for her pride. He 
had burnt his ships behind him. It 
would not be so hard to bear if he 
thought that she was suffering now, 
but he knew her too well: she was 
perfectly indifferent to him. If he 



hadn't been a fool he would have pre- 
tended to believe her story; he ought 
to have had the strength to conceal 
his disappointment and the self-con- 
trol to master his temper. He could 
not tell why he loved her. He had 
read of the idealisation that takes place 
in love, but he saw her exactly as she 
was. She was not amusing or clever, 
her mind was common; she had a 
vulgar shrewdness which revolted him, 
she had no gentleness nor softness. As 
she would have put it herself, she was 
on the make. What aroused her ad- 
miration was a clever trick played on 
an unsuspecting person; to 'do' some- 
body always gave her satisfaction. 
Philip laughed savagely as he thought 
of her gentility and the refinement 
with which she ate her food; she 
could not bear a coarse word, so far as 
her limited vocabulary reached she 
had a passion for euphemisms, and she 
scented indecency everywhere; she 
never spoke of trousers but referred 
to them as nether garments; she 
thought it slightly indelicate to blow 
her nose and did it in a deprecating 
way. She was dreadfully anasmic and 
suffered from the dyspepsia which ac- 
companies that ailing. Philip was re- 
pelled by her flat breast and narrow 
hips, and he hated the vulgar way in 
which she did her hair. He loathed 
and despised himself for loving her. 
The fact remained that he was help- 
less. He felt just as he had felt some- 
times in the hands of a bigger boy 
at school. He had struggled against the 
superior strength till his own strength 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



209 



was gone, and he was rendered quite 
powerless— he remembered the pecul- 
iar languor he had felt in his limbs, 
almost as though he were paralysed— 
so that he could not help himself at 
all. He might have been dead. He felt 
just that same weakness now. He 
loved the woman so that he knew he 
had never loved before. He did not 
mind her faults of person or of char- 
acter, he thought he loved them too: 
at all events they meant nothing to 
him. It did not seem himself that was 
concerned; he felt that he had been 
seized by some strange force that 
moved him against his will, contrary 
to his interests; and because he had a 
passion for freedom he hated the 
chains which bound him. He laughed 
at himself when he thought how often 
he had longed to experience the over- 
whelming passion. He cursed himself 
because he had given way to it. He 
thought of the beginnings; nothing of 
all this would have happened if he 
had not gone into the shop with 
Dunsford. The whole thing was his 
own fault. Except for his ridiculous 
vanity he would never have troubled 
himself with the ill-mannered slut. 

At all events the occurrences of 
that evening had finished the whole 
affair. Unless he was lost to all sense 
of shame he could not go back. He 
wanted passionately to get rid of the 
love that obsessed him; it was degrad- 
ing and hateful. He must prevent him- 
self from thinking of her. In a little 
while the anguish he suffered must 
grow less. His mind went back to the 
past. He wondered whether Emily 
Wilkinson and Fanny Price had en- 
dured on his account anything like the 
torment that he suffered now. He felt 
a pang of remorse. 

"I didn't know then what it was 
like," he said to himself. 

He slept very badly. The next day 
was Sunday, and he worked at his 



biology. He sat with the book in front 
of him, forming the words with his 
lips in order to fix his attention, but he 
could remember nothing. He found his 
thoughts going back to Mildred every 
minute, and he repeated to himself the 
exact words of the quarrel they had 
had. He had to force himself back to 
his book. He went out for a walk. 
The streets on the South side of the 
river were dingy enough on week-days, 
but there was an energy, a coming 
and going, which gave them a sordid 
vivacity; but on Sundays, with no 
shops open, no carts in the roadway, 
silent and depressed, they were in- 
describably dreary. Philip thought that 
day would never end. But he was so 
tired that he slept heavily, and when 
Monday came he entered upon life 
with determination. Christmas was ap- 
proaching, and a good many of the 
students had gone into the country for 
the short holiday between the two 
parts of the winter session; but Philip 
had refused his uncle's invitation to 
go down to Blackstable. He had given 
the approaching examination as his ex- 
cuse, but in point of fact he had 
been unwilling to leave London and 
Mildred. He had neglected his work 
so much that now he had only a 
fortnight to learn what the curriculum 
allowed three months for. He set to 
work seriously. He found it easier each 
day not to think of Mildred. He con- 
gratulated himself on his force of 
character. The pain he suffered was 
no longer anguish, but a sort of sore- 
ness, like what one might be expected 
to feel if one had been thrown off a 
horse and, though no bones were 
broken, were bruised all over and 
shaken. Philip found that he was able 
to observe with curiosity the condition 
he had been in during the last few 
weeks. He analysed his feelings with 
interest. He was a little amused at 
himself. One thing that struck him 



210 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



was how little under those circum- 
stances it mattered what one thought; 
the system of personal philosophy, 
which had given him great satisfaction 
to devise, had not served him. He 
was puzzled by this. 

But sometimes in the street he 
would see a girl who looked so like 
Mildred that his heart seemed to stop 
beating. Then he could not help him- 
self, he hurried on to catch her up, 
eager and anxious, only to find that 
it was a total stranger. Men came 
back from the country, and he went 
vvdth Dunsford to have tea at an 
A. B. C. shop. The well-known uni- 
form made him so miserable that he 
could not speak. The thought came 
to him that perhaps she had been 
transferred to another establishment of 
the firm for which she worked, and 
he might suddenly find himself face 
to face with her. The idea filled him 
with panic, so that he feared Duns- 
ford would see that something was the 
matter with him: he could not think 
of anything to say; he pretended to 
listen to what Dunsford was talking 
about; the conversation maddened 
him; and it was all he could do to 
prevent himself from crying out to 
Dunsford for Heaven's sake to hold 
his tongue. 

Then came the day of his examina- 
tion. Philip, when his turn arrived, 
went forward to the examiner's table 
with the utmost confidence. He an- 
swered three or four questions. Then 
they showed him various specimens; 
he had been to very few lectures and, 
as soon as he was asked about things 
which he could not learn from books, 
he was floored. He did what he could 
to hide his ignorance, the examiner 
did not insist, and soon his ten minutes 
were over. He felt certain he had 
passed; but next day, when he went 
up to the examination buildings to see 
the result posted on the door, he was 



astounded not to find his number 
among those who had satisfied the ex- 
aminers. In amazement he read the 
list three times. Dunsford was with 
him. 

"I say, Fm awfully sorry you're 
ploughed," he said. 

He had just inquired Philip's num- 
ber. Philip turned and saw by his 
radiant face that Dunsford had passed. 

"Oh, it doesn't matter a bit," said 
Philip. "I'm jolly glad you're all right. 
I shall go up again in July." 

He was very anxious to pretend he 
did not mind, and on their way back 
along The Embankment insisted on 
talking of indiflFerent things. Dunsford 
good-naturedly wanted to discuss the 
causes of Philip's failure, but Philip 
was obstinately casual. He was hor- 
ribly mortified; and the fact that Duns- 
ford, whom he looked upon as a very 
pleasant but quite stupid fellow, had 
passed made his own rebuff harder to 
bear. He had always been proud of 
his intelligence, and now he asked 
himself desperately whether he was 
not mistaken in the opinion he held 
of himself. In the three months of 
the winter session the students who 
had joined in October had already 
shaken down into groups, and it was 
clear which were brilliant, which were 
clever or industrious, and which were 
'rotters.' Philip was conscious that his 
failure was a surprise to no one but 
himself. It was tea-time, and he knew 
that a lot of men would be having 
tea in the basement of the Medical 
School: those who had passed the ex- 
amination would be exultant, those 
who disliked him would look at him 
with satisfaction, and the poor devils 
who had failed would sympathise with 
him in order to receive sympathy. His 
instinct was not to go near the hospital 
for a week, when the affair would be 
no more thought of, but, because he 
hated so much to go just then, he 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



211 



went: he wanted to inflict suffering 
upon himself. He forgot for the mo- 
ment his maxim of Hfe to follow his 
inclinations with due regard for the 
policeman round the corner; or, if he 
acted in accordance with it, there must 
have been some strange morbidity in 
his nature which made him take a 
grim pleasure in self-torture. 

But later on, when he had endured 
the ordeal to which he forced himself, 
going out into the night after the noisy 
conversation in the smoking-room, he 
was seized with a feeling of utter 
loneliness. He seemed to himself ab- 
surd and futile. He had an urgent 
need of consolation, and the tempta- 
tion to see Mildred was irresistible. 
He thought bitterly that there was 
small chance of consolation from her; 
but he wanted to see her even if he 
did not speak to her; after all, she was 
a waitress and would be obliged to 
serve him. She was the only person 
in the world he cared for. There was 
no use in hiding that fact from him- 
self. Of course it would be humiliating 
to go back to the shop as though noth- 
ing had happened, but he had not 
much self-respect left. Though he 
would not confess it to himself, he 
had hoped each day that she would 
write to him; she knew that a letter 
addressed to the hospital would find 
him; but she had not written: it was 
evident that she cared nothing if she 
saw him again or not. And he kept on 
repeating to himself: 

"I must see her. I must see her." 
The desire was so great that he 
could not give the time necessary to 
walk, but jumped in a cab. He was 
too thrifty to use one when it could 
possibly be avoided. He stood outside 
the shop for a minute or two. The 
thought came to him that perhaps 
she had left, and in terror he walked 
in quickly. He saw her at once. He 
sat down and she came up to him. 



"A cup of tea and a muffin, please," 
he ordered. 

He could hardly speak. He was 
afraid for a moment that he was go- 
ing to cry. 

*1 almost thought you was dead," 
she said. 

She was smiling. Smiling! She 
seemed to have forgotten completely 
that last scene which Philip had re- 
peated to himself a hundred times. 

"I thought if you'd wanted to see 
me you'd write," he answered. 

"I've got too much to do to think 
about writing letters." 

It seemed impossible for her to say 
a gracious thing. Philip cursed the fate 
which chained him to such a woman. 
She went away to fetch his tea. 

"Would you like me to sit down for 
a minute or two?" she said, when she 
brought it. 

"Yes." 

"Where have you been all this 
time?" 

"I've been in London." 

"I thought you'd gone away for the 
holidays. Why haven't you been in 
then?" 

Philip looked at her with haggard, 
passionate eyes. 

"Don't you remember that I said 
I'd never see you again?" 

"What are you doing now then?" 

She seemed anxious to make him 
drink up the cup of his humiliation; 
but he knew her well enough to know 
that she spoke at random; she hurt 
him frightfully, and never even tried 
to. He did not answer. 

"It was a nasty trick you played 
on me, spying on me like that. I al- 
ways thought you was a gentleman 
in every sense of the word." 

"Don't be beastly to me, Mildred. 
I can't bear it." 

"You are a funny feller. I can't 
make you out." 

"It's very simple. I'm such a blasted 



212 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



fool as to love you with all my heart 
and soul, and I know that you don't 
care twopence for me." 

"If you had been a gentleman I 
think you'd have come next day and 
begged my pardon." 

She had no mercy. He looked at 
her neck and thought how he would 
like to jab it with the knife he had 
for his muffin. He knew enough 
anatomy to make pretty certain of 
getting the carotid artery. And at the 
same time he wanted to cover her pale, 
thin face with kisses. 

"If I could only make you under- 
stand how frightfully Fm in love with 
you. 

"You haven't begged my pardon 
yet." 

He grew very white. She felt that 
she had done nothing wrong on that 
occasion. She wanted him now to 
humble himself. He was very proud. 
For one instant he felt inclined to tell 
her to go to hell, but he dared not. 
His passion made him abject. He was 
willing to submit to anything rather 
than not see her. 

"I'm very sorry, Mildred. I beg your 
pardon." 

He had to force the words out. It 
was a horrible effort. 



"Now you've said that I don't mind 
telling you that I wish I had come 
out with you that evening. I thought 
Miller was a gentleman, but I've dis- 
covered my mistake now. I soon sent 
him about his business." 

Philip gave a little gasp. 

"Mildred, won't you come out 
with me tonight? Let's go and dine 
somewhere." 

"Oh, I can't. My aunt'U be ex- 
pecting me home." 

"I'll send her a ware. You can say 
you've been detained in the shop; she 
won't know any better. Oh, do come, 
for God's sake. I haven't seen you for 
so long, and I want to talk to you." 

She looked down at her clothes. 

"Never mind about that. We'll go 
somewhere where it doesn't matter 
how you're dressed. And we'll go to a 
music-hall afterwards. Please say yes. 
It would give me so much pleasure." 

She hesitated a moment; he looked 
at her with pitifully appealing eyes. 

"Well, I don't mind if I do. I 
haven't been out anywhere since I 
don't know how long." 

It was with the greatest difficulty 
he could prevent himself from seizing 
her hand there and then to cover it 
with kisses. 



LX 



They dined in Soho. Philip was 
tremulous with joy. It was not one of 
the more crowded of those cheap res- 
taurants where the respectable and 
needy dine in the belief that it is 
bohemian and the assurance that it is 
economical. It was a humble estab- 
lishment, kept by a good man from 
Rouen and his wife, that Philip had 
discovered by accident. He had been 



attracted by the Gallic look of the 
window, in which was generally an 
uncooked steak on one plate and on 
each side two dishes of raw vegetables. 
There was one seedy French waiter, 
who was attempting to learn English 
in a house where he never heard any- 
thing but French; and the customers 
were a few ladies of easy virtue, a 
menage or two, who had their own 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



213 



napkins reserved for them, and a few 
queer men who came in for hurried, 
scanty meals. 

Here Mildred and Philip were able 
to get a table to themselves. Philip 
sent the waiter for a bottle of Bur- 
gundy from the neighbouring tavern, 
and they had a potage aux herhes, a 
steak from the window aux pommes, 
and an omelette au kirsch. There was 
really an air of romance in the meal 
and in the place. Mildred, at first a 
little reserved in her appreciation— "I 
never quite trust these foreign places, 
you never know what there is in these 
messed up dishes*'— was insensibly 
moved by it. 

"I like this place, Philip," she said. 
"You feel you can put your elbows 
on the table, don't you?" 

A tall fellow came in, with a mane 
of gray hair and a ragged thin beard. 
He wore a dilapidated cloak and a 
wide-awake hat. He nodded to Philip, 
who had met him there before. 

"He looks like an anarchist," said 
Mildred. 

"He is, one of the most dangerous 
in Europe. He's been in every prison 
on the Continent and has assassinated 
more persons than any gentleman un- 
hung. He always goes about with a 
bomb in his pocket, and of course it 
makes conversation a little difficult be- 
cause if you don't agree with him he 
lays it on the table in a marked man- 
ner." 

She looked at the man with horror 
and surprise, and then glanced sus- 
piciously at Philip. She saw that his 
eyes were laughing. She frowned a 
little. 

"You're getting at me." 

He gave a little shout of joy. He 
was so happy. But Mildred didn't like 
being laughed at. 

"I don't see anything funny in tell- 
ing Hes." 



"Don't be cross." 

He took her hand, which was 
lying on the table, and pressed it gen- 
tly. 

"You are lovely, and I could kiss 
the ground you walk on," he said. 

The greenish pallor of her skin in- 
toxicated him, and her thin white lips 
had an extraordinary fascination. Her 
anaemia made her rather short of 
breath, and she held her mouth 
slightly open. It seemed to add some- 
how to the attractiveness of her face. 

"You do like me a bit, don't your^" 
he asked. 

"Well, if I didn't I suppose I 
shouldn't be here, should V? You're a 
gentleman in every sense of the word, 
I will say that for you." 

They had finished their dinner and 
were drinking coffee. Philip, throwing 
economy to the winds, smoked a 
three-penny cigar. 

"You can't imagine what a pleasure 
it is to me just to sit opposite and 
look at you. I've yearned for you. I 
was sick for a sight of you." 

Mildred smiled a little and faintly 
flushed. She was not then suffering 
from the dyspepsia which generally 
attacked her immediately after a meal. 
She felt more kindly disposed to 
Philip than ever before, and the un- 
accustomed tenderness in her eyes 
filled him with joy. He knew instinc- 
tively that it was madness to give him- 
self into her hands; his only chance 
was to treat her casually and never 
allow her to see the untamed passions 
that seethed in his breast; she would 
only take advantage of his weakness; 
but he could not be prudent now: 
he told her all the agony he had en- 
dured during the separation from her; 
he told her of his struggles with him- 
self, how he had tried to get over his 
passion, thought he had succeeded, 



214 

and how he found out that it was as 
strong as ever. He knew that he had 
never really wanted to get over it. He 
loved her so much that he did not 
mind suffering. He bared his heart 
to her. He showed her proudly all his 
weakness. 

Nothing would have pleased him 
more than to sit on in the cosy, shabby 
restaurant, but he knew that Mildred 
wanted entertainment. She was rest- 
less and, wherever she was, wanted 
after a while to go somewhere else. 
He dared not bore her. 

"I say, how about going to a music- 
hall?" he said. 

He thought rapidly that if she cared 
for him at all she would say she pre- 
ferred to stay there. 

"I was just thinking we ought to 
be going if we are going," she an- 
swered. 

"Come on then." 

Philip waited impatiently for the 
end of the performance. He had made 
up his mind exactly what to do, and 
when they got into the cab he passed 
his arm, as though almost by accident, 
round her waist. But he drew it back 
quickly with a little cry. He had 
pricked himself. She laughed. 

"There, that comes of putting your 
arm where it's got no business to be," 
she said. "I always know when men 
try and put their arm round my waist. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



That pin always catches them." 

"I'll be more careful." 

He put his arm round again. She 
made no objection. 

"Fm so comfortable," he sighed 
blissfully. 

"So long as you're happy,** she re- 
torted. 

They drove down St. James' Street 
into the Park, and Philip quickly 
kissed her. He was strangely afraid of 
her, and it required all his courage. 
She turned her lips to him without 
speaking. She neither seemed to mind 
nor to like it. 

"If you only knew how long I've 
wanted to do that," he murmured. 

He tried to kiss her again, but she 
turned her head away. 

"Once is enough," she said. 

On the chance of kissing her a 
second time he travelled down to 
Heme Hill with her, and at the end 
of the road in which she lived he 
asked her: 

"Won't you give me another kiss?" 

She looked at him indifferently and 
then glanced up the road to see that 
no one was in sight. 

"I don't mind." 

He seized her in his arms and kissed 
her passionately, but she pushed him 
away. 

"Mind my hat, silly. You are 
clumsy," she said. 



LXI 



H E s A w her then every day. He be- 
gan going to lunch at the shop, but 
Mildred stopped him : she said it made 
the girls talk; so he had to content 
himself with tea; but he always waited 
about to walk with her to the station; 
and once or twice a week they dined 
together. He gave her little presents, 



a gold bangle, gloves, handkerchiefs, 
and the like. He was spending more 
than he could afford, but he could 
not help it: it was only when he 
gave her anything that she showed any 
affection. She knew the price of ev- 
erything, and her gratitude was in ex- 
act proportion with the value of his 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



215 



gift. He did not care. He was too 
happy when she volunteered to kiss 
him to mind by what means he got 
her demonstrativeness. He discovered 
that she found Sundays at home 
tedious, so he went down to Heme 
Hill in the morning, met her at the 
end of the road, and went to church 
with her. 

"I always like to go to church 
once,'* she said. "It looks well, doesn't 
it?" 

Then she went back to dinner, he 
got a scrappy meal at a hotel, and in 
the afternoon they took a walk in 
Brockwell Park. They had nothing 
much to say to one another, and 
Philip, desperately afraid she was 
bored, (she was very easily bored,) 
racked his brain for topics of conver- 
sation. He realised that these walks 
amused neither of them, but he could 
not bear to leave her, and did all he 
could to lengthen them till she be- 
came tired and out of temper. He 
knew that she did not care for him, 
and he tried to force a love which 
his reason told him was not in her 
nature: she was cold. He had no claim 
on her, but he could not help being 
exacting. Now that they were more 
intimate he found it less easy to con- 
trol his temper; he was often irritable 
and could not help saying bitter 
things. Often they quarrelled, and she 
would not speak to him for a while; 
but this always reduced him to sub- 
jection, and he crawled before her. 
He was angry with himself for show- 
ing so little dignity. He grew furiously 
jealous if he saw her speaking to any 
other man in the shop, and when he 
was jealous he seemed to be beside 
himself. He would deliberately insult 
her, leave the shop and spend after- 
wards a sleepless night tossing on his 
bed, by turns angry and remorseful. 
Next day he would go to the shop 
and appeal for forgiveness. 



"Don't be angry with me," he said. 
"I'm so awfully fond of you that I 
can't help myself." 

"One of these days you'll go too far," 
she answered. 

He was anxious to come to her 
home in order that the greater inti- 
macy should give him an advantage 
over the stray acquaintances she made 
during her working-hours; but she 
would not let him. 

"My aunt would think it so funny," 
she said. 

He suspected that her refusal was 
due only to a disinclination to let him 
see her aunt. Mildred had represented 
her as the widow of a professional 
man, (that was her formula of dis- 
tinction,) and was uneasily conscious 
that the good woman could hardly be 
called distinguished. Philip imagined 
that she was in point of fact the 
widow of a small tradesman. He knew 
that Mildred was a snob. But he 
found no means by which he could 
indicate to her that he did not mind 
how common the aunt was. 

Their worst quarrel took place one 
evening at dinner when she told him 
that a man had asked her to go to a 
play with him. Philip turned pale, 
and his face grew hard and stern. 

"You're not going?" he said. 

"Why shouldn't T? He's a very nice 
gentlemanly fellow." 

"I'll take you anywhere you like." 

"But that isn't the same thing. I 
can't always go about with you. Be- 
sides he's asked me to fix my own 
day, and I'll just go one evening when 
I'm not going out with you. It won't 
make any difference to you." 

"If you had any sense of decency, 
if you had any gratitude, you wouldn't 
dream of going." 

"I don't know what you mean by 
gratitude. If you're referring to the 
things you've given me you can have 
them back. I don't want them." 



2l6 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Her voice had the shrewish tone it 
sometimes got. 

"It's not very Hvely, always going 
about with you. It's always do you 
love me, do you love me, till I just 
get about sick of it." 

(He knew it was madness to go on 
asking her that, but he could not help 
himself. 

"Oh, I like you all right," she would 
answer. 

"Is that all? I love you with all 
my heart." 

"I'm not that sort, I'm not one to 
say much." 

"If you knew how happy just one 
word would make me!" 

"Well, what I always say is, people 
must take me as they find me, and if 
they don't like it they can lump it." 

But sometimes she expressed herself 
more plainly still, and when he asked 
the question, answered: 

"Oh, don't go on at that again." 

Then he became sulky and silent. 
He hated her.) 

And now he said: 

"Oh, well, if you feel like that 
about it I wonder you condescend to 
come out with me at all." 

"It's not my seeking, you can be 
very sure of that, you just force me 
to." 

His pride was bitterly hurt, and he 
answered madly. 

"You think I'm just good enough to 
stand you dinners and theatres when 
there's no one else to do it, and when 
someone else turns up I can go to hell. 
Thank you, I'm about sick of being 
made a convenience." 

"I'm not going to be talked to like 
that by anyone. I'll just show you how 
much I want your dirty dinner." 

She got up, put on her jacket, and 
walked quickly out of the restaurant. 
Philip sat on. He determined he 
would not move, but ten minutes aft- 



erwards he jumped in a cab and fol- 
lowed her. He guessed that she would 
take a 'bus to Victoria, so that they 
would arrive about the same time. He 
saw her on the platform, escaped her 
notice, and went down to Heme Hill 
in the same train. He did not want 
to speak to her till she was on the 
way home and could not escape him. 

As soon as she had turned out of 
the main street, brightly lit and noisy 
with traffic, he caught her up. 

"Mildred," he called. 

She walked on and would neither 
look at him nor answer. He repeated 
her name. Then she stopped and 
faced him. 

"What d'you want? I saw you hang- 
ing about Victoria. Why don't you 
leave me alone?" 

"I'm awfully sorry. Won't you make 
it up?" 

"No, I'm sick of your temper and 
your jealousy. I don't care for you, I 
never have cared for you, and I never 
shall care for you. I don't want to 
have anything more to do with you." 

She walked on quickly, and he had 
to hurry to keep up with her. 

"You never make allowances for 
me," he said. "It's all very well to be 
jolly and amiable when you're indif- 
ferent to anyone. It's very hard when 
you're as much in love as I am. Have 
mercy on me. I don't mind that you 
don't care for me. After all you can't 
help it. I only want you to let me 
love you." 

She walked on, refusing to speak, 
and Philip saw with agony that they 
had only a few hundred yards to go 
before they reached her house. He 
abased himself. He poured out an in- 
coherent story of love and penitence. 

"If you'll only forgive me this time 
I promise you you'll never have to 
complain of me in future. You can 
go out with whomever you choose. I'll 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



217 



be only too glad if you'll come with 
me when you've got nothing better 
to do." 

She stopped again, for they had 
reached the comer at which he always 
left her. 

"Now you can take yourself off. I 
won't have you coming up to the 
door." 

"I won't go till you say you'll for- 
give me." 

"I'm sick and tired of the whole 
thing." 

He hesitated a moment, for he had 
an instinct that he could say something 
that would move her. It made him 
feel almost sick to utter the words. 

"It is cruel, I have so much to put 
up with. You don't know what it is 
to be a cripple. Of course you don't 
like me. I can't expect you to." 

"Philip, I didn't mean that," she 
answered quickly, with a sudden break 
of pity in her voice. "You know it's 
not true." 

He was beginning to act now, and 
his voice was husky and low. 

"Oh, I've felt it," he said. 

She took his hand and looked at 
him, and her own eyes were filled 
with tears. 

"I promise you it never made any 
difference to me. I never thought 
about it after the first day or two." 

He kept a gloomy, tragic silence. 
He wanted her to think he was over- 
come with emotion. 

*Tou know I like you awfully, 
Philip. Only you are so trying some- 
times. Let's make it up." 

She put up her lips to his, and 
with a sigh of relief he kissed her. 

"Now are you happy again?" she 
asked. 

"Madly." 

She bade him good-night and hur- 
ried down the road. Next day he took 
her in a little watch with a brooch 



to pin on her dress. She had been 
hankering for it. 

But three or four days later, when 
she brought him his tea, Mildred said 
to him: 

"You remember what you promised 
the other night? You mean to keep 
that, don't you?" 

"Yes." 

He knew exactly what she meant 
and was prepared for her next words. 

"Because I'm going out with that 
gentleman I told you about tonight." 

"All right. I hope you'll enjoy your- 
self." 

"You don't mind, do you?" 

He had himself now under excel- 
lent control. 

"I don't like it," he smiled, "but 
I'm not going to make myself more 
disagreeable than I can help." 

She was excited over the outing 
and talked about it willingly. Philip 
wondered whether she did so in order 
to pain him or merely because she 
was callous. He was in the habit of 
condoning her cruelty by the thought 
of her stupidity. She had not the 
brains to see when she was wounding 
him. 

"It's not much fun to be in love 
with a girl who has no imagination 
and no sense of humour," he thought, 
as he listened. 

But the want of these things ex- 
cused her. He felt that if he had not 
realised this he could never forgive 
her for the pain she caused him. 

"He's got seats for the Tivoli," she 
said. "He gave me my choice and I 
chose that. And we're going to dine 
at the Cafe Royal. He says it's the 
most expensive place in London." 

"He's a gentleman in every sense 
of the word," thought Philip, but he 
clenched his teeth to prevent himself 
from uttering a syllable. 

Philip went to the Tivoli and saw 



2l8 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Mildred with her companion, a 
smooth-faced young man with sleek 
hair and the spruce look of a com- 
mercial traveller, sitting in the second 
row of the stalls. Mildred wore a 
black picture hat with ostrich feathers 
in it, which became her well. She was 
listening to her host with that quiet 
smile which Philip knew; she had no 
vivacity of expression, and it required 
broad farce to excite her laughter; 
but Philip could see that she was in- 
terested and amused. He thought to 
himself bitterly that her companion, 
flashy and jovial, exactly suited her. 
Her sluggish temperament made her 
appreciate noisy people. Philip had a 



passion for discussion, but no talent 
for small-talk. He admired the easy 
drollery of which some of his friends 
were masters, Lawson for instance, 
and his sense of inferiority made him 
shy and awkward. The things which 
interested him bored Mildred. She ex- 
pected men to talk about football and 
racing, and he knew nothing of either. 
He did not know the catchwords 
which only need be said to excite a 
laugh. 

Printed matter had always been a 
fetish to Philip, and now, in order to 
make himself more interesting, he 
read industriously The Sporting 
Times. 



LXII 



Philip did not surrender himself 
willingly to the passion that consumed 
him. He knew that all things human 
are transitory and therefore that it must 
cease one day or another. He looked 
forward to that day with eager long- 
ing. Love was like a parasite in his 
heart, nourishing a hateful existence 
on his life's blood; it absorbed his ex- 
istence so intensely that he could take 
pleasure in nothing else. He had been 
used to delight in the grace of St. 
James' Park, and often he sat and 
looked at the branches of a tree sil- 
houetted against the sky, it was Hke a 
Japanese print; and he found a con- 
tinual magic in the beautiful Thames 
with its barges and its wharfs; the 
changing sky of London had filled his 
soul with pleasant fancies. But now 
beauty meant nothing to him. He was 
bored and restless when he was not 
with Mildred. Sometimes he thought 
he would console his sorrow by look- 
ing at pictures, but he walked through 
the National Gallery like a sight-seer; 



and no picture called up in him a 
thrill of emotion. He wondered if he 
could ever care again for all the things 
he had loved. He had been devoted 
to reading, but now books were mean- 
ingless; and he spent his spare hours 
in the smoking-room of the hospital 
club, turning over innumerable peri- 
odicals. This love was a torment, and 
he resented bitterly the subjugation in 
which it held him; he was a prisoner 
and he longed for freedom. 

Sometimes he awoke in the morn- 
ing and felt nothing; his soul leaped, 
for he thought he was free; he loved 
no longer; but in a Httle while, as he 
grew wide awake, the pain settled in 
his heart, and he knew that he was 
not cured yet. Though he yearned for 
Mildred so madly he despised her. 
He thought to himself that there could 
be no greater torture in the world than 
at the same time to love and to con- 
temn. 

Philip, burrowing as was his habit 
into the state of his feeHngs, dis- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



219 



cussing with himself continually his 
condition, came to the conclusion 
that he could only cure himself of his 
degrading passion by making Mildred 
his mistress. It was sexual hunger that 
he suffered from, and if he could 
satisfy this he might free himself from 
the intolerable chains that bound him. 
He knew that Mildred did not care 
for him at all in that way. When he 
kissed her passionately she withdrew 
herself from him with instinctive dis- 
taste. She had no sensuality. Some- 
times he had tried to make her jealous 
by talking of adventures in Paris, but 
they did not interest her; once or twice 
he had sat at other tables in the tea- 
shop and affected to flirt with the 
waitress who attended them, but she 
was entirely indifferent. He could see 
that it was no pretence on her part. 

"You didn't mind my not sitting 
at one of your tables this afternoon'?" 
he asked once, when he was walking 
to the station with her. "Yours seemed 
to be all full." 

This was not a fact, but she did 
not contradict him. Even if his de- 
sertion meant nothing to her he 
would have been grateful if she had 
pretended it did. A reproach would 
have been balm to his soul. 

"I think it's silly of you to sit at the 
same table every day. You ought to 
give the other girls a turn now and 
again." 

But the more he thought of it the 
more he was convinced that com- 
plete surrender on her part was his 
only way to freedom. He was like a 
knight of old, metamorphosed by 
magic spells, who sought the potions 
which should restore him to his fair 
and proper form. Philip had only one 
hope. Mildred greatly desired to go 
to Paris. To her, as to most Enghsh 
people, it was the centre of gaiety 
and fashion: she had heard of the 
Magasin du Louvre, where you could 



get the very latest thing for about half 
the price you had to pay in London; 
a friend of hers had passed her honey- 
moon in Paris and had spent all day 
at the Louvre; and she and her hus- 
band, my dear, they never went to 
bed till six in the morning all the 
time they were there; the Moulin 
Rouge and I don't know what all. 
Philip did not care that if she yielded 
to his desires it would only be the 
unwilling price she paid for the grati- 
fication of her wish. He did not care 
upon what terms he satisfied his pas- 
sion. He had even had a mad, melo- 
dramatic idea to drug her. He had 
plied her with liquor in the hope of 
exciting her, but she had no taste 
for wine; and though she liked him 
to order champagne because it looked 
well, she never drank more than half 
a glass. She liked to leave untouched 
a large glass filled to the brim. 

"It shows the waiters who you are," 
she said. 

Philip chose an opportunity when 
she seemed more than usually friendly. 
He had an examination in anatomy 
at the end of March. Easter, which 
came a week later, would give Mildred 
three whole days holiday. 

"I say, why don't you come over to 
Paris then?" he suggested. "We'd have 
such a ripping time." 

"How could you? It would cost no 
end of money." 

Philip had thought of that. It would 
cost at least five-and-twenty pounds. 
It was a large sum to him. He was 
willing to spend his last penny on 
her. 

"What does that matter? Say you'll 
come, darling." 

"What next, I should like to know. 
I can't see myself going away with a 
man that I wasn't married to. You 
oughtn't to suggest such a thing." 

"What does it matter?" 

He enlarged on the glories of the 



220 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Rue de la Paix and the garish splen- 
dour of the Folies Bergeres. He de- 
scribed the Louvre and the Bon 
Marche. He told her about the 
Cabaret du Neant, the Abbaye, and 
the various haunts to which foreigners 
go. He painted in glowing colours the 
side of Paris which he despised. He 
pressed her to come with him. 

"You know, you say you love me, 
but if you really loved me you'd want 
to marry me. You Ve never asked me 
to marry you." 

"You know I can't afford it. After 
all, I'm in my first year, I shan't earn 
a penny for six years." 

"Oh, I'm not blaming you. I 
wouldn't marry you if you went down 
on your bended knees to me." 

He had thought of marriage more 
than once, but it was a step from 
which he shrank. In Paris he had 
come by the opinion that marriage was 
a ridiculous institution of the philis- 
tines. He knew also that a permanent 
tie would ruin him. He had middle- 
class instincts, and it seemed a dread- 
ful thing to him to marry a waitress. 
A common wife would prevent him 
from getting a decent practice. Be- 
sides, he had only just enough money 
to last him till he was qualified; he 
could not keep a wife even if they 
arranged not to have children. He 
thought of Cronshaw bound to a vul- 
gar slattern, and he shuddered with 
dismay. He foresaw what Mildred, 
with her genteel ideas and her mean 
mind, would become: it was impos- 
sible for him to marry her. But he 
decided only with his reason; he felt 
that he must have her whatever hap- 
pened; and if he could not get her 
without marrying her he would do 
that; the future could look after itself. 
It might end in disaster; he did not 
care. When he got hold of an idea 
it obsessed him, he could think of 
nothing else, and he had a more than 



common power to persuade himself 
of the reasonableness of what he 
wished to do. He found himself over- 
throwing all the sensible arguments 
which had occurred to him against 
marriage. Each day he found that he 
was more passionately devoted to her; 
and his unsatisfied love became angry 
and resentful. 

"By George, if I marry her I'll make 
her pay for all the suffering I've en- 
dured," he said to himself. 

At last he could bear the agony no 
longer. After dinner one evening in 
the little restaurant in Soho, to which 
now they often went, he spoke to her. 

"I say, did you mean it the other 
day that you wouldn't marry me if 
I asked you:'" 

"Yes, why not?" 

"Because I can't live without you. 
I want you with me always. I've tried 
to get over it and I can't. I never 
shall now. I want you to marry me." 

She had read too many novelettes 
not to know how to take such an 
oflFer. 

"I'm sure I'm very grateful to you, 
Philip. I'm very much iBiattered at your 
proposal." 

"Oh, don't talk rot. You will marry 
me, won't you?" 

"D'you think we should be happy?" 

"No. But what does that matter?" 

The words were wrung out of him 
almost against his will. They surprised 
her. 

"Well, you are a funny chap. Why 
d'you want to marry me then? The 
other day you said you couldn't aflFord 
it." 

"I think I've got about fourteen 
hundred pounds left. Two can live 
just as cheaply as one. That'll keep 
us till I'm qualified and have got 
through with my hospital appoint- 
ments, and then I can get an assistant- 
ship." 

"It means you wouldn't be able to 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



221 



earn anything for six years. We should 
have about four pounds a week to 
live on till then, shouldn't wer"" 

"Not much more than three. There 
are all my fees to pay." 

"And what would you get as an 
assistant?" 

"Three pounds a week." 

"D'you mean to say you have to 
work all that time and spend a small 
fortune just to earn three pounds a 
week at the end of it? I don't see that 
I should be any better off than I am 
now." 

He was silent for a moment. 

"D'you mean to say you won't 
marry me?" he asked hoarsely. "Does 
my great love mean nothing to you 
at all?" 

"One has to think of oneself in 
those things, don't one? I shouldn't 
mind marrying, but I don't want to 
marry if I'm going to be no better off 
than what I am now. I don't see the 
use of it." 

"If you cared for me you wouldn't 
think of all that." 

"P'raps not." 

He was silent. He drank a glass of 
wine in order to get rid of the choking 
in his throat. 

"Look at that girl who's just going 
out," said Mildred. "She got them 
furs at the Bon Marche at Brixton. I 
saw them in the window last time I 
went down there." 

Philip smiled grimly. 

"What are you laughing at?" she 
asked. "It's true. And I said to my 
aunt at the time, I wouldn't buy any- 
thing that had been in the window 
like that, for everyone to know how 



much you paid for it." 

"I can't understand you. You make 
me frightfully unhappy, and in the 
next breath you talk rot that has noth- 
ing to do with what we're speaking 
about." 

*Tou are nasty to me," she an- 
swered, aggrieved. "I can't help notic- 
ing those furs, because I said to my 
aunt. . ." 

"I don't care a damn what you said 
to your aunt," he interrupted im- 
patiently. 

"I wish you wouldn't use bad lan- 
guage when you speak to me, Philip. 
You know I don't like it." 

Philip smiled a little, but his eyes 
were wild. He was silent for a while. 
He looked at her sullenly. He hated, 
despised, and loved her. 

"If I had an ounce of sense I'd 
never see you again," he said at last. 
"If you only knew how heartily I 
despise myself for loving you!" 

"That's not a very nice thing to say 
to me," she replied sulkily. 

"It isn't," he laughed. "Let's go to 
the Pavilion." 

"That's what's so funny in you, you 
start laughing just when one doesn't 
expect you to. And if I make you that 
unhappy why d'you want to take me 
to the Pavilion? I'm quite ready to 
go home." 

"Merely because I'm less unhappy 
with you than away from you." 

"I should like to know what you 
really think of me." 

He laughed outright. 

"My dear, if you did you'd never 
speak to me again." 



222 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



LXIII 



Philip did not pass the examination 
in anatomy at the end of March. He 
and Dunsford had worked at the sub- 
ject together on PhiHp's skeleton, ask- 
ing each other questions till both knew 
by heart every attachment and the 
meaning of every nodule and groove 
on the human bones; but in the ex- 
amination room PhiHp was seized with 
panic, and failed to give right an- 
swers to questions from a sudden fear 
that they might be wrong. He knew 
he was ploughed and did not even 
trouble to go up to the building next 
day to see whether his number was 
up. The second failure put him 
definitely among the incompetent and 
idle men of his year. 

He did not care much. He had 
other things to think of. He told him- 
self that Mildred must have senses 
like anybody else, it was only a ques- 
tion of awakening them; he had 
theories about woman, the rip at 
heart, and thought that there must 
come a time with every one when she 
would yield to persistence. It was a 
question of watching for the oppor- 
tunity, keeping his temper, wearing 
her down with small attentions, tak- 
ing advantage of the physical exhaus- 
tion which opened the heart of tender- 
ness, making himself a refuge from the 
petty vexations of her work. He talked 
to her of the relations between his 
friends in Paris and the fair ladies 
they admired. The life he described 
had a charm, an easy gaiety, in which 
was no grossness. Weaving into his 
own recollections the adventures of 
Mimi and Rodolphe, of Musette and 
the rest of them, he poured into 



Mildred's ears a story of poverty made 
picturesque by song and laughter, of 
lawless love made romantic by beauty 
and youth. He never attacked her 
prejudices directly, but sought to com- 
bat them by the suggestion that they 
were suburban. He never let himself 
be disturbed by her inattention, nor 
irritated by her indifference. He 
thought he had bored her. By an ef- 
fort he made himself affable and en- 
tertaining; he never let himself be 
angry, he never asked for anything, 
he never complained, he never 
scolded. When she made engagements 
and broke them, he met her next day 
with a smiling face; when she ex- 
cused herself, he said it did not mat- 
ter. He never let her see that she 
pained him. He understood that his 
passionate grief had wearied her, and 
he took care to hide every sentiment 
which could be in the least degree 
troublesome. He was heroic. 

Though she never mentioned the 
change, for she did not take any 
conscious notice of it, it affected her 
nevertheless: she became more con- 
fidential with him; she took her little 
grievances to him, and she always had 
some grievance against the manager- 
ess of the shop, one of her fellow- 
waitresses, or her aunt; she was talka- 
tive enough now, and though she never 
said anything that was not trivial 
Philip was never tired of listening to 
her. 

"I like you when you don't want to 
make love to me," she told him once. 

"That's flattering for me," he 
laughed. 

She did not realise how her words 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



223 



made his heart sink nor what an ef- 
fort it needed for him to answer so 
hghtly. 

"Oh, I don't mind your kissing me 
now and then. It doesn't hurt me and 
it gives you pleasure." 

Occasionally she went so far as to 
ask him to take her out to dinner, 
and the offer, coming from her, filled 
him with rapture. "I wouldn't do it 
to anyone else," she said, by way of 
apology. "But I know I can with you." 

"You couldn't give me greater pleas- 
ure," he smiled. 

She asked him to give her some- 
thing to eat one evening towards the 
end of April. 

"All right," he said. "Where would 
you like to go afterwards?" 

"Oh, don't let's go anywhere. Let's 
just sit and talk. You don't mind, do 
you?" 

"Rather not." 

He thought she must be beginning 
to care for him. Three months before 
the thought of an evening spent in 
conversation would have bored her to 
death. It was a fine day, and the 
spring added to Philip's high spirits. 
He was content with very little now. 

"I say, won't it be ripping when 
the summer comes along," he said, 
as they drove along on the top of a 
'bus to Soho— she had herself sug- 
gested that they should not be so 
extravagant as to go by cab. "We shall 
be able to spend every Sunday on 
the River. We'll take our luncheon 
in a basket." 

She smiled slightly, and he was 
encouraged to take her hand. She did 
not withdraw it. 

"I really think you're beginning to 
like me a bit," he smiled. 

"You are silly, you know I like you, 
or else I shouldn't be here, should I?" 

They were old customers at the 
little restaurant in Soho by now, and 



the patronne gave them a smile as 
they came in. The waiter was ob- 
sequious. 

"Let me order the dinner tonight," 
said Mildred. 

Philip, thinking her more enchant- 
ing than ever, gave her the menu, and 
she chose her favourite dishes. The 
range was small, and they had eaten 
many times all that the restaurant 
could provide. Philip was gay. He 
looked into her eyes, and he dwelt 
on every perfection of her pale cheek. 
When they had finished Mildred by 
way of exception took a cigarette. 
She smoked very seldom. 

"I don't like to see a lady smoking," 
she said. 

She hesitated a moment and then 
spoke. 

"Were you surprised, my asking 
you to take me out and give me a bit 
of dinner tonight?" 

"I was delighted," 

"I've got something to say to you, 
Philip." 

He looked at her quickly, his heart 
sank, but he had trained himself well. 

"Well, fire away," he said, smiling. 

"You're not going to be silly about 
it, are you? The fact is I'm going to 
get married." 

"Are you?" said Philip. 

He could think of nothing else to 
say. He had considered the possibility 
often and had imagined to himself 
what he would do and say. He had 
suffered angonies when he thought of 
the despair he would suffer, he had 
thought of suicide, of the mad passion 
of anger that would seize him; but 
perhaps he had too completely antici- 
pated the emotion he would experi- 
ence, so that now he felt merely ex- 
hausted. He felt as one does in a 
serious illness when the vitality is so 
low that one is indiflFerent to the 



224 

issue and wants only to be left alone. 

"You see, I'm getting on," she said. 
"I'm twenty-four and it's time I settled 
down." 

He was silent. He looked at the 
patrcmne sitting behind the counter, 
and his eye dwelt on a red feather 
one of the diners wore in her hat. 
Mildred was nettled. 

"You might congratulate me," she 
said. 

"I might, mightn't I? I can hardly 
believe it's true. I've dreamt it so 
often. It rather tickles me that I should 
have been so jolly glad that you asked 
me to take you out to dinner. Whom 
are you going to marry?" 

"Miller," she answered, with a slight 
blush. 

"Miller?" cried Philip, astounded. 
"But you've not seen him for months." 

"He came in to lunch one day last 
week and asked me then. He's earning 
very good money. He makes seven 
pounds a week now and he's got pros- 
pects." 

Philip was silent again. He remem- 
bered that she had always liked Mil- 
ler; he amused her; there was in his 
foreign birth an exotic charm which 
she felt unconsciously. 

"I suppose it was inevitable," he 
said at last. "You were bound to 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



accept the highest bidder. When are 
you going to marry?" 

"On Saturday next. I have given 
notice." 

Philip felt a sudden pang. 

"As soon as that?" 

"We're going to be married at a 
registry office. Emil prefers it." 

Philip felt dreadfully tired. He 
wanted to get away from her. He 
thought he would go straight to bed. 
He called for the bill. 

"I'll put you in a cab and send 
you down to Victoria. I daresay you 
won't have to wait long for a train." 

"Won't you come with me?" 

"I think I'd rather not if you don't 
mind." 

"It's just as you please," she an- 
swered haughtily. "I suppose I shall 
see you at tea-time tomorrow?" 

"No, I think we'd better make a full 
stop now. I don't see why I should go 
on making myself unhappy. I've paid 
the cab." 

He nodded to her and forced a 
smile on his lips, then jumped on a 
'bus and made his way home. He 
smoked a pipe before he went to bed, 
but he could hardly keep his eyes 
open. He suffered no pain. He fell 
into a heavy sleep almost as soon as 
his head touched the pillow. 



LXIV 



But about three in the morning 
Philip awoke and could not sleep 
again. He began to think of Mildred. 
He tried not to, but could not help 
himself. He repeated to himself the 
same thing time after time till his 
brain reeled. It was inevitable that 
she should marry: life was hard for 
a girl who had to earn her own 
living; and if she found someone who 



could give her a comfortable home 
she should not be blamed if she ac- 
cepted. Philip acknowledged that 
from her point of view it would have 
been madness to marry him: only love 
could have made such poverty bear- 
able, and she did not love him. It 
was no fault of hers; it was a fact 
that must be accepted like any other. 
Philip tried to reason with himself. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



225 



He told himself that deep down in 
his heart was mortified pride; his pas- 
sion had begun in wounded vanity, 
and it was this at bottom which caused 
now great part of his wretchedness. 
He despised himself as much as he 
despised her. Then he made plans for 
the future, the same plans over and 
over again, interrupted by recollections 
of kisses on her soft pale cheek and 
by the sound of her voice with its 
trailing accent; he had a great deal 
of work to do, since in the summer 
he was taking Chemistry as well as 
the two examinations he had failed in. 
He had separated himself from his 
friends at the hospital, but now he 
wanted companionship. There was one 
happy occurrence: Hayward a fort- 
night before had written to say that 
he was passing through London and 
had asked him to dinner; but Philip, 
unwilling to be bothered, had refused. 
He was coming back for the season, 
and Philip made up his mind to write 
to him. 

He was thankful when eight o'clock 
struck and he could get up. He was 
pale and weary. But when he had 
bathed, dressed, and had breakfast, he 
felt himself joined up again with the 
world at large; and his pain was a 
little easier to bear. He did not feel 
like going to lectures that morning, 
but went instead to the Army and 
Navy Stores to buy Mildred a wed- 
ding-present. After much wavering he 
settled on a dressing-bag. It cost twenty 
pounds, which was much more than 
he could afford, but it was showy 
and vulgar: he knew she would be 
aware exactly how much it cost; he got 
a melancholy satisfaction in choosing 
a gift which would give her pleasure 
and at the same time indicate for him- 
self the contempt he had for her. 

Philip had looked forward with 
apprehension to the day on which 
Mildred was to be married; he was 



expecting an intolerable anguish; and 
it was with relief that he got a letter 
from Hayward on Saturday morning 
to say that he was coming up early 
on that very day and would fetch 
Philip to help him to find rooms. 
Philip, anxious to be distracted, looked 
up a time-table and discovered the 
only train Hayward was likely to come 
by; he went to meet him, and the 
reunion of the friends was enthusias- 
tic. They left the luggage at the sta- 
tion, and set off gaily. Hayward char- 
acteristically proposed that first of all 
they should go for an hour to the 
National Gallery; he had not seen 
pictures for some time, and he stated 
that it needed a glimpse to set him in 
tune with life. Philip for months had 
had no one with whom he could talk 
of art and books. Since the Paris days 
Hayward had immersed himself in 
the modern French versifiers, and, 
such a plethora of poets is there in 
France, he had several new geniuses 
to tell Philip about. They walked 
through the gallery pointing out to one 
another their favourite pictures; one 
subject led to another; they talked ex- 
citedly. The sun was shining and the 
air was warm. 

"Let's go and sit in the Park," said 
Hayward. "We'll look for rooms after 
luncheon." 

The spring was pleasant there. It 
was a day upon which one felt it 
good merely to live. The young green 
of the trees was exquisite against the 
sky; and the sky, pale and blue, was 
dappled with little white clouds. At 
the end of the ornamental water was 
the gray mass of the Horse Guards. 
The ordered elegance of the scene 
had the charm of an eighteenth-cen- 
tury picture. It reminded you not of 
Watteau, whose landscapes are so idyl- 
lic that they recall only the woodland 
glens seen in dreams, but of the more 
prosaic Jean-Baptiste Pater. Philip's 



226 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



heart was filled with lightness. He 
realised, what he had only read before, 
that art (for there was art in the man- 
ner in which he looked upon nature) 
might liberate the soul from pain. 

They went to an Italian restaurant 
for luncheon and ordered themselves 
a fiaschetto of Chianti. Lingering over 
the meal they talked on. They re- 
minded one another of the people 
they had known at Heidelberg, they 
spoke of Philip's friends in Paris, they 
talked of books, pictures, morals, life; 
and suddenly Philip heard a clock 
strike three. He remembered that by 
this time Mildred was married. He 
felt a sort of stitch in his heart, and for 
a minute or two he could not hear 
what Hayward was saying. But he 
filled his glass with Chianti. He was 
unaccustomed to alcohol and it had 
gone to his head. For the time at all 
events he was free from care. His 
quick brain had lain idle for so many 
months that he was intoxicated now 
with conversation. He was thankful to 
have someone to talk to who would 
interest himself in the things that 
interested him. 

"I say don't let's waste this beautiful 
day in looking for rooms. I'll put you 
up to-night. You can look for rooms 
tomorrow or Monday." 

"All right. What shall we do?" an- 
swered Hayward. 

"Let's get on a penny steamboat and 
go down to Greenwich." 

The idea appealed to Hayward, and 
they jumped into a cab which took 
them to Westminster Bridge. They 
got on the steamboat just as she was 
starting. Presently Philip, a smile on 
his lips, spoke. 

"I remember when first I went to 
Paris, Glutton, I think it was, gave a 
long discourse on the subject that 
beauty is put into things by painters 
and poets. They create beauty. In 
themselves there is nothing to choose 



between the Gampanile of Giotto and 
a factory chimney. And then beautiful 
things grow rich with the emotion 
that they have aroused in succeeding 
generations. That is why old things are 
more beautiful than modern. The Ode 
on a Grecian Urn is more lovely now 
than when it was written, because 
for a hundred years lovers have read 
it and the sick at heart taken comfort 
in its lines." 

Philip left Hayward to infer what 
in the passing scene had suggested 
these words to him, and it was a de- 
light to know that he could safely 
leave the inference. It was in sudden 
reaction from the life he had been 
leading for so long that he was now 
deeply affected. The delicate irides- 
cence of the London air gave the soft- 
ness of a pastel to the gray stone of 
the buildings; and in the wharves and 
storehouses there was the severity of 
grace of a Japanese print. They went 
further down; and the splendid chan- 
nel, a symbol of the great empire, 
broadened, and it was crowded with 
traffic; Philip thought of the painters 
and the poets who had made all these 
things so beautiful, and his heart was 
filled with gratitude. They came to 
the Pool of London, and who can 
describe its majesty? The imagination 
thrills, and Heaven knows what figures 
people still its broad stream, Doctor 
Johnson with Boswell by his side, an 
old Pepys going on board a man-o'- 
war: the pageant of English history, 
and romance, and high adventure. 
Philip turned to Hayward vdth shin- 
ing eyes. 

"Dear Gharles Dickens," he mur- 
mured, smihng a little at his own 
emotion. 

"Aren't you rather sorry you 
chucked painting?" asked Hayward. 

"No." 

"I suppose you like doctoring?" 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



227 



"No, I hate it, but there was noth- 
ing else to do. The drudgery o£ the 
first two years is awful, and unfor- 
tunately I haven't got the scientific 
temperament." 

"Well, you can't go on changing 
professions." 

"Oh, no. I'm going to stick to this. 
I think I shall like it better when I 
get into the wards. I have an idea that 
I'm more interested in people than 
in anything else in the world. And 
as far as I can see, it's the only pro- 
fession in which you have your free- 
dom. You carry your knowledge in 
your head; with a box of instruments 
and a few drugs you can make your 
living anywhere." 

"Aren't you going to take a practice 
then?" 

"Not for a good long time at any 
rate," Philip answered. "As soon as 
I've got through my hospital appoint- 
ments I shall get a ship; I want to 
go to the East— the Malay Archipel- 
ago, Siam, China, and all that sort 
of thing— and then I shall take odd 
jobs. Something always comes along, 
cholera duty in India and things like 
that. I want to go from place to place. 
I want to see the world. The only 
way a poor man can do that is by 
going in for the medical." 



They came to Greenwich then. The 
noble building of Inigo Jones faced 
the river grandly. 

"I say, look, that must be the place 
where Poor Jack dived into the mud 
for pennies," said Philip. 

They wandered in the park. 
Ragged children were playing in it, 
and it was noisy with their cries: 
here and there old seamen were bask- 
ing in the sun. There was an air of a 
hundred years ago. 

"It seems a pity you wasted two 
years in Paris," said Hayward. 

"Wastei^ Look at the movement of 
that child, look at the pattern which 
the sun makes on the ground, shining 
through the trees, look at that sky 
—why, I should never have seen that 
sky if I hadn't been to Paris." 

Hayward thought that Philip 
choked a sob, and he looked at him 
with astonishment. 

"What's the matter with you?" 

"Nothing. I'm sorry to be so damned 
emotional, but for six months I've been 
starved for beauty." 

"You used to be so matter of fact. 
It's very interesting to hear you say 
that." 

"Damn it all, I don't want to be 
interesting," laughed Philip. "Let's go 
and have a stodgy tea." 



LXV 



Hayward's visit did Philip a great 
deal of good. Each day his thoughts 
dwelt less on Mildred. He looked 
back upon the past with disgust. He 
could not understand how he had 
submitted to the dishonour of such a 
love; and when he thought of Mildred 
it was with angry hatred, because she 
had submitted him to so much humili- 
ation. His imagination presented her 



to him now with her defects of person 
and manner exaggerated, so that he 
shuddered at the thought of having 
been connected with her. 

"It just shows how damned weak 
I am," he said to himself. The ad- 
venture was like a blunder that one 
had committed at a party so horrible 
that one felt nothing could be done 
to excuse it: the only remedy was 



228 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



to forget. His horror at the degrada- 
tion he had suffered helped him. He 
was hke a snake casting its skin and 
he looked upon the old covering with 
nausea. He exulted in the possession 
of himself once more; he realised how 
much of the delight of the world he 
had lost when he was absorbed in that 
madness which they called love; he 
had had enough of it; he did not want 
to be in love any more if love was 
that. Philip told Hayward something 
of what he had gone through. 

"Wasn't it Sophocles," he asked, 
"who prayed for the time when he 
would be delivered from the wild 
beast of passion that devoured his 
heart-strings?" 

Philip seemed really to be born 
again. He breathed the circumambient 
air as though he had never breathed 
it before, and he took a child's pleas- 
ure in all the facts of the world. He 
called his period of insanity six 
months' hard labour. 

Hayward had only been settled in 
London a few days when Philip re- 
ceived from Blackstable, where it 
had been sent, a card for a private 
view at some picture gallery. He took 
Hayward, and, on looking at the cata- 
logue, saw that Lawson had a picture 
in it. 

"I suppose he sent the card," said 
Phihp. "Let's go and find him, he's 
sure to be in front of his picture." 

This, a profile of Ruth Chalice, 
was tucked away in a corner, and 
Lawson was not far from it. He looked 
a little lost, in his large soft hat and 
loose, pale clothes, amongst the fash- 
ionable throng that had gathered for 
the private view. He greeted Philip 
with enthusiasm, and with his usual 
volubility told him that he had come 
to live in London, Ruth Chalice was 
a hussy, he had taken a studio, Paris 
was played out, he had a commission 
for a portrait, and they'd better dine 



together and have a good old talk. 
Philip reminded him of his acquaint- 
ance with Hayward, and was 
entertained to see that Lawson was 
slightly awed by Hayward's elegant 
clothes and grand manner. They sat 
upon him better than they had done 
in the shabby little studio which Law- 
son and Philip had shared. 

At dinner Lawson went on with 
his news. Flanagan had gone back to 
America. Clutton had disappeared. He 
had come to the conclusion that a 
man had no chance of doing anything 
so long as he was in contact with 
art and artists: the only thing was to 
get right away. To make the step 
easier he had quarrelled with all his 
friends in Paris. He developed a talent 
for telling them home truths, which 
made them bear with fortitude his 
declaration that he had done with 
that city and was settling in Gerona, 
a little town in the north of Spain 
which had attracted him when he 
saw it from the train on his way to 
Barcelona. He was living there now 
alone. 

"I wonder if he'll ever do any good," 
said Philip. 

He was interested in the human 
side of that struggle to express some- 
thing which was so obscure in the 
man's mind that he was become mor- 
bid and querulous. Philip felt vaguely 
that he was himself in the same case, 
but with him it was the conduct of 
his life as a whole that perplexed him. 
That was his means of self-expression, 
and what he must do with it was not 
clear. But he had no time to continue 
with this train of thought, for Law- 
son poured out a frank recital of his 
affair with Ruth Chahce. She had 
left him for a young student who had 
just come from England, and was be- 
having in a scandalous fashion. Law- 
son really thought someone ought to 
step in and save the young man. She 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



229 



would ruin him. Philip gathered that 
Lawson's chief grievance was that the 
rupture had come in the middle of a 
portrait he was painting. 

"Women have no real feeling for 
art," he said. "They only pretend they 
have." But he finished philosophically 
enough: "However, I got four por- 
traits out of her, and I'm not sure if 
the last I was working on would ever 
have been a success." 

Philip envied the easy way in which 
the painter managed his love-affairs. 
He had passed eighteen months pleas- 
antly enough, had got an excellent 
model for nothing, and had parted 
from her at the end with no great 
pang. 

"And what about Cronshaw?" asked 
Philip. 

"Oh, he's done for," answered Law- 
son, with the cheerful callousness of 
his youth. "He'll be dead in six 
months. He got pneumonia last winter. 
He was in the English hospital for 
seven weeks, and when he came out 
they told him his only chance was to 
give up liquor." 

"Poor devil," smiled the abstemious 
Philip. 

"He kept off for a bit. He used to 
go to the Lilas all the same, he 
couldn't keep away from that, but he 
used to drink hot milk, avec de la 
fleur d'oranger, and he was damned 
dull." 

"I take it you did not conceal the 
fact from him." 

"Oh, he knew it himself. A Httle 
while ago he started on whiskey again. 
He said he was too old to turn over any 
new leaves. He would rather be happy 
for six months and die at the end 
of it than linger on for five years. 
And then I think he's been awfully 



hard up lately. You see, he didn't 
earn anything while he was ill, and 
the slut he lives with has been giving 
him a rotten time." 

"I remember, the first time I saw 
him I admired him awfully," said 
Philip. "I thought he was wonderful. 
It is sickening that vulgar, middle- 
class virtue should pay." 

"Of course he was a rotter. He 
was bound to end in the gutter sooner 
or later," said Lawson. 

Philip was hurt because Lawson 
would not see the pity of it. Of course 
it was cause and effect, but in the 
necessity with which one follows the 
other lay all tragedy of life. 

"Oh, I'd forgotten," said Lawson. 
"Just after you left he sent round a 
present for you. I thought you'd be 
coming back and I didn't bother about 
it, and then I didn't think it worth 
sending on; but it'll come over to 
London with the rest of my things, 
and you can come to my studio one 
day and fetch it away if you want 
it." 

"You haven't told me what it is 
yet." 

"Oh, it's only a ragged little bit 
of carpet. I shouldn't think it's worth 
anything. I asked him one day what 
the devil he'd sent the filthy thing 
for. He told me he'd seen it in a 
shop in the Rue de Rennes and bought 
it for fifteen francs. It appears to be 
a Persian rug. He said you'd asked 
him the meaning of life and that was 
the answer. But he was very drunk." 

Philip laughed. 

"Oh yes, I know. I'll take it. It 
was a favourite wheeze of his. He said 
I must find out for myself, or else 
the answer meant nothing." 



230 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



LXVI 



Philip worked well and easily; he 
had a good deal to do, since he was 
taking in July the three parts of the 
First Conjoint examination, two of 
which he had failed in before; but he 
found life pleasant. He made a new 
friend. Lawson, on the look out for 
models, had discovered a girl who 
was understudying at one of the 
theatres, and in order to induce her to 
sit to him arranged a little luncheon- 
party one Sunday. She brought a 
chaperon with her; and to her Philip, 
asked to make a fourth, was instructed 
to confine his attentions. He found this 
easy, since she turned out to be an 
agreeable chatterbox with an amusing 
tongue. She asked Philip to go and 
see her; she had rooms in Vincent 
Square, and was always in to tea at 
five o'clock; he went, was delighted 
with his welcome, and went again. 
Mrs. Nesbit was not more than twenty- 
five, very small, with a pleasant, ugly 
face; she had very bright eyes, high 
cheek-bones, and a large mouth: the 
excessive contrasts of her colouring 
reminded one of a portrait by one 
of the modem French painters; her 
skin was very white, her cheeks were 
very red, her thick eyebrows, her hair, 
were very black. The effect was odd, 
a little unnatural, but far from un- 
pleasing. She was separated from her 
husband and earned her living and 
her child's by writing penny novelettes. 
There were one or two publishers who 
made a specialty of that sort of thing, 
and she had as much work as she 
could do. It was ill-paid, she received 
fifteen pounds for a story of thirty 
thousand words; but she was satisfied. 
"After all, it only costs the reader 



twopence," she said, "and they like 
the same thing over and over again. 
I just change the names and that's 
all. When I'm bored I think of the 
washing and the rent and clothes for 
baby, and I go on again." 

Besides, she walked on at various 
theatres where they wanted supers and 
earned by this when in work from 
sixteen shillings to a guinea a week. 
At the end of her day she was so tired 
that she slept like a top. She made 
the best of her difficult lot. Her keen 
sense of humour enabled her to get 
amusement out of every vexatious cir- 
cumstance. Sometimes things went 
wrong, and she found herself with no 
money at all; then her trifling posses- 
sions found their way to a pawnshop 
in the Vauxhall Bridge Road, and she 
ate bread and butter till things grew 
brighter. She never lost her cheer- 
fulness. 

Philip was interested in her shift- 
less life, and she made him laugh with 
the fantastic narration of her struggles. 
He asked her why she did not try her 
hand at literary work of a better sort, 
but she knew that she had no talent, 
and the abominable stuff she turned 
out by the thousand words was not 
only tolerably paid, but was the best 
she could do. She had nothing to look 
forward to but a continuation of the 
life she led. She seemed to have no 
relations, and her friends were as poor 
as herself. 

"I don't think of the future," she 
said. "As long as I have enough money 
for three weeks* rent and a pound or 
two over for food I never bother. Life 
wouldn't be worth living if I worried 
over the future as well as the present. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



231 



When things are at their worst I find 
something always happens." 

Soon Philip grew in the habit o£ 
going in to tea with her every day, 
and so that his visits might not em- 
barrass her he took in a cake or a 
pound of butter or some tea. They 
started to call one another by their 
Christian names. Feminine sympathy 
was new to him, and he delighted in 
someone who gave a willing ear to 
all his troubles. The hours went 
quickly. He did not hide his admira- 
tion for her. She was a delightful com- 
panion. He could not help comparing 
her with Mildred; and he contrasted 
with the one's obstinate stupidity, 
which refused interest to everything 
she did not know, the other's quick 
appreciation and ready intelligence. 
His heart sank when he thought that 
he might have been tied for life to 
such a woman as Mildred. One 
evening he told Norah the whole 
story of his love. It was not one to 
give him much reason for self-esteem, 
and it was very pleasant to receive 
such charming sympathy. 

"I think you're well out of it," she 
said, when he had finished. She had 
a funny way at times of holding her 
head on one side like an Aberdeen 
puppy. She was sitting in an upright 
chair, sewing, for she had no time to 
do nothing, and Philip had made 
himself comfortable at her feet. 

"I can't tell you how heartily 
thankful I am it's all over," he sighed. 

"Poor thing, you must have had a 
rotten time," she murmured, and by 
way of showing her sympathy put 
her hand on his shoulder. 

He took it and kissed it, but she 
withdrew it quickly. 

"Why did you do that?" she asked, 
with a blush. 

"Have you any objection?" 

She looked at him for a moment 
with twinkling eyes, and she smiled. 



"No," she said. 

He got up on his knees and faced 
her. She looked into his eyes steadily, 
and her large mouth trembled with a 
smile. 

"Well?" she said. 

"You know, you are a ripper. I'm 
so grateful to you for being nice to me. 
I like you so much." 

"Don't be idiotic," she said. 

Philip took hold of her elbows and 
drew her towards him. She made no 
resistance, but bent forward a little, 
and he kissed her red lips. 

"Why did you do that?" she asked 
again. 

"Because it's comfortable." 

She did not answer, but a tender 
look came into her eyes, and she 
passed her hand softly over his hair. 

"You know, it's awfully silly of you 
to behave like this. We were such good 
friends. It would be so jolly to leave 
it at that." 

"If you really want to appeal to my 
better nature," replied Philip, "you'll 
do well not to stroke my cheek while 
you're doing it." 

She gave a little chuckle, but she 
did not stop. 

"It's very wrong of me, isn't it?" she 
said. 

Philip, surprised and a little 
amused, looked into her eyes, and 
as he looked he saw them soften and 
grow liquid, and there was an expres- 
sion in them that enchanted him. His 
heart was suddenly stirred, and tears 
came to his eyes. 

"Norah, you're not fond of me, 
are you?" he asked, incredulously. 

"You clever boy, you ask such 
stupid questions." 

"Oh, my dear, it never struck me 
that you could be." 

He flung his arms round her and 
kissed her, while she, laughing, blush- 
ing, and crying, surrendered herself 
willingly to his embrace. 



232 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Presently he released her and sit- 
ting back on his heels looked at her 
curiously. 

"Well, Fm blowed!" he said. 

"Why^' 

"rm so surprised." 

"And pleased?" 

"Delighted," he cried with all his 
heart, "and so proud and so happy 
and so grateful." 

He took her hands and covered 
them with kisses. This was the begin- 
ning for Philip of a happiness which 
seemed both solid and durable. They 
became lovers but remained friends. 
There was in Norah a maternal in- 
stinct which received satisfaction in 
her love for Philip; she wanted some- 
one to pet, and scold, and make a 
fuss of; she had a domestic tempera- 
ment and found pleasure in looking 
after his health and his linen. She 
pitied his deformity, over which he 
was so sensitive, and her pity expressed 
itself instinctively in tenderness. She 
was young, strong, and healthy, and 
it seemed quite natural to her to give 
her love. She had high spirits and a 
merry soul. She liked Phihp because 
he laughed with her at all the amus- 
ing things in hfe that caught 
her fancy, and above all she liked him 
because he was he. 

When she told him this he an- 
swered gaily: 

"Nonsense. You like me because 
I'm a silent person and never want to 
get a word in." 

Philip did not love her at all. He 
was extremely fond of her, glad to be 
with her, amused and interested by 
her conversation. She restored his be- 
lief in himself and put healing oint- 
ments, as it were, on all the bruises of 
his soul. He was immensely flattered 
that she cared for him. He admired 
her courage, her optimism, her im- 
pudent defiance of fate; she had a 
Jittle philosophy of her own, in- 



genuous and practical. 

"You know, I don't believe in 
churches and parsons and all that," 
she said, "but I believe in God, and I 
don't believe He minds much about 
what you do as long as you keep your 
end up and help a lame dog over a 
stile when you can. And I think peo- 
ple on the whole are very nice, and 
I'm sorry for those who aren't." 

"And what about afterwards?" 
asked Philip. 

"Oh, well, I don't know for certain, 
you know," she smiled, **but I hope 
for the best. And anyhow there'll 
be no rent to pay and no novelettes to 
write." 

She had a feminine gift for delicate 
flattery. She thought that Philip did 
a brave thing when he left Paris be- 
cause he was conscious he could not 
be a great artist; and he was en- 
chanted when she expressed enthusias- 
tic admiration for him. He had never 
been quite certain whether this action 
indicated courage or infirmity of pur- 
pose. It was delightful to realise that 
she considered it heroic. She ventured 
to tackle him on a subject which his 
friends instinctively avoided. 

"It's very silly of you to be so sensi- 
tive about your club-foot," she said. 
She saw him flush darkly, but went 
on. "You know, people don't think 
about it nearly as much as you do. 
They notice it the first time they see 
you, and then they forget about it." 

He would not answer. 

"You're not angry with me, are 
you?" 

"No." 

She put her arm round his neck. 

"You know, I only speak about it 
because I love you. I don't want it to 
make you unhappy." 

"I think you can say anything you 
choose to me," he answered, smiling. 
"I wish I could do something to show 
you how grateful I am to you." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



2.33 



She took him in hand in other 
ways. She would not let him be bear- 
ish and laughed at him when he was 
out of temper. She made him more 
urbane. 

"You can make me do anything you 
like," he said to her once. 

"D'you mind?" 

"No, I want to do what you Hke." 

He had the sense to realise his hap- 
piness. It seemed to him that she 
gave him all that a wife could, and 
he preserved his freedom; she was the 
most charming friend he had ever had, 
with a sympathy that he had never 
found in a man. The sexual relation- 
ship was no more than the strongest 
link in their friendship. It completed 
it, but was not essential. And because 
Philip's appetites were satisfied, he be- 
came more equable and easier to live 
with. He felt in complete possession 
of himself. He thought sometimes of 
the winter, during which he had been 
obsessed by a hideous passion, and he 
was filled with loathing for Mildred 
and with horror of himself. 

His examinations were approaching, 
and Norah was as interested in them 
as he. He was flattered and touched 
by her eagerness. She made him prom- 
ise to come at once and tell her the 
results. He passed the three parts this 
time without mishap, and when he 
went to tell her she burst into tears. 

"Oh, I'm so glad, I was so anxious." 

"You silly little thing," he laughed, 
but he was choking. 



No one could help being pleased 
with the way she took it. 

"And what are you going to do 
now?" she asked. 

"I can take a holiday with a clear 
conscience. I have no work to do till 
the winter session begins in October." 

"I suppose you'll go down to your 
uncle's at Blackstablef"" 

"You suppose quite wrong. I'm go- 
ing to stay in London and play with 
you." 

"I'd rather you went away." 

"Why? Are you tired of me?" 

She laughed and put her hands on 
his shoulders. 

"Because you've been working hard, 
and you look utterly washed out. You 
want some fresh air and a rest. Please 

go-" 

He did not answer for a moment. 
He looked at her with loving eyes. 

"You know, I'd never believe it of 
anyone but you. You're only thinking 
of my good. I wonder what you see in 
me." 

"Will you give me a good character 
with my month's notice?" she laughed 
gaily. 

"I'll say that you're thoughtful and 
kind, and you're not exacting; you 
never worry, you're not troublesome, 
and you're easy to please." 

"All that's nonsense," she said, 
"but I'll tell you one thing: I'm one of 
the few persons I ever met who are 
able to learn from experience." 



LXVII 



Philip looked forward to his return 
to London with impatience. During 
the two months he spent at Black- 
stable Norah wrote to him frequently, 
long letters in a bold, large hand, in 



which with cheerful humour she de- 
scribed the little events of the daily 
round, the domestic troubles of her 
landlady, rich food for laughter, the 
comic vexations of her rehearsals— she 



234 

was walking on in an important spec- 
tacle at one of the London theatres— 
and her odd adventures with the 
publishers of novelettes. Philip read 
a great deal, bathed, played tennis, 
and sailed. At the beginning of Octo- 
ber he settled down in London to 
work for the Second Conjoint exami- 
nation. He was eager to pass it, since 
that ended the drudgery of the curric- 
ulum; after it was done with the stu- 
dent became an out-patients* clerk, and 
was brought in contact with men and 
women as well as with text-books. 
Philip saw Norah every day. 

Lawson had been spending the sum- 
mer at Poole, and had a number of 
sketches to show of the harbour and of 
the beach. He had a couple of com- 
missions for portraits and proposed to 
stay in London till the bad light drove 
him away. Hayward, in London too, 
intended to spend the winter abroad, 
but remained week after week from 
sheer inability to make up his mind 
to go. Hayward had run to fat during 
the last two or three years— it was five 
years since Philip first met him in 
Heidelberg— and he was prematurely 
bald. He was very sensitive about it 
and wore his hair long to conceal the 
unsightly patch on the crown of his 
head. His only consolation was that 
his brow was now very noble. His 
blue eyes had lost their colour; they 
had a listless droop; and his mouth, 
losing the fulness of youth, was weak 
and pale. He still talked vaguely of 
the things he was going to do in the 
future, but with less conviction; and 
he was conscious that his friends no 
longer believed in him: when he had 
drunk two or three glasses of whiskey 
he was inclined to be elegiac. 

"I'm a failure," he murmured, "I'm 
unfit for the brutality of the struggle 
of life. All I can do is to stand aside 
and let the vulgar throng hustle by 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



in their pursuit of the good things." 

He gave you the impression that 
to fail was a more delicate, a more 
exquisite thing, than to succeed. He 
insinuated that his aloofness was due 
to distaste for all that was common 
and low. He talked beautifully of 
Plato. 

"I should have thought you'd got 
through with Plato by now," said 
Philip impatiently. 

"Would youi^" he asked, raising his 
eyebrows. 

He was not inclined to pursue the 
subject. He had discovered of late 
the effective dignity of silence. 

"I don't see the use of reading the 
same thing over and over again," said 
Philip. "That's only a laborious form 
of idleness." 

"But are you under the impression 
that you have so great a mind that you 
can understand the most profound 
writer at a first reading?" 

"I don't want to understand him, 
I'm not a critic. I'm not interested in 
him for his sake but for mine." 

"Why d'you read then?" 

"Partly for pleasure, because it's a 
habit and I'm just as uncomfortable 
if I don't read as if I don't smoke, 
and partly to know myself. When I 
read a book I seem to read it with my 
eyes only, but now and then I come 
across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, 
which has a meaning for me, and it 
becomes part of me; I've got out of 
the book all that's any use to me, and 
I can't get anything more if I read 
it a dozen times. You see, it seems to 
me, one's like a closed bud, and most 
of what one reads and does has no 
effect at all; but there are certain 
things that have a peculiar significance 
for one, and they open a petal; and the 
petals open one by one; and at last 
the flower is there." 

Philip was not satisfied with his 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



235 



metaphor, but he did not know how 
else to explain a thing which he felt 
and yet was not clear about. 

"You want to do things, you want 
to become things," said Hayward, 
with a shrug of the shoulders. "It's 
so vulgar." 

Philip knew Hayward very well by 
now. He was weak and vain, so vain 
that you had to be on the watch con- 
stantly not to hurt his feelings; he 
mingled idleness and idealism so that 
he could not separate them. At Law- 
son's studio one day he met a journal- 
ist, who was charmed by his conver- 
sation, and a week later the editor 
of a paper wrote to suggest that he 
should do some criticism for him. For 
forty-eight hours Hayward lived in an 
agony of indecision. He had talked of 
getting occupation of this sort so long 
that he had not the face to refuse 
outright, but the thought of doing any- 
thing filled him with panic. At last he 
declined the offer and breathed freely. 

"It would have interfered with my 
work," he told Philip. 

"What work?" asked Philip brutally. 

"My inner life," he answered. 

Then he went on to say beautiful 
things about Amiel, the professor of 
Geneva, whose brilliancy promised 
achievement which was never ful- 
filled; till at his death the reason of 
his failure and the excuse were at 
once manifest in the minute, wonder- 
ful journal which was found among 
his papers. Hayward smiled enigmat- 
ically. 

But Hayward could still talk de- 
lightfully about books; his taste was 
exquisite and his discrimination ele- 
gant; and he had a constant interest 
in ideas, which made him an en- 
tertaining companion. They meant 
nothing to him really, since they never 
had any effect on him; but he treated 
them as he might have pieces of china 



in an auction-room, handling them 
with pleasure in their shape and their 
glaze, pricing them in his mind; and 
then, putting them back into their 
case, thought of them no more. 

And it was Hayward who made a 
momentous discovery. One evening, 
after due preparation, he took Philip 
and Lawson to a tavern situated in 
Beak Street, remarkable not only in 
itself and for its history— it had mem- 
ories of eighteenth-century glories 
which excited the romantic imagina- 
tion—but for its snuff, which was the 
best in London, and above all for its 
punch. Hayward led them into a 
large, long room, dingily magnificent, 
with huge pictures on the walls of 
nude women : they were vast allegories 
of the school of Haydon; but smoke, 
gas, and the London atmosphere had 
given them a richness which made 
them look like old masters. The dark 
panelling, the massive, tarnished gold 
of the cornice, the mahogany tables, 
gave the room an air of sumptuous 
comfort, and the leather-covered seats 
along the wall were soft and easy. 
There was a ram's head on a table op- 
posite the door, and this contained the 
celebrated snuff. They ordered punch. 
They drank it. It was hot rum punch. 
The pen falters when it attempts to 
treat of the excellence thereof; the 
sober vocabulary, the sparse epithet of 
this narrative, are inadequate to the 
task; and pompous terms, jewelled, ex- 
otic phrases rise to the excited fancy. 
It warmed the blood and cleared the 
head; it filled the soul with well-be- 
ing; it disposed the mind at once to 
utter wit and to appreciate the wit 
of others; it had the vagueness of 
music and the precision of mathemat- 
ics. Only one of its qualities was com- 
parable to anything else: it had the 
warmth of a good heart; but its taste, 
its smell, its feel, were not to be de- 



236 

scribed in words. Charles Lamb, with 
his infinite tact, attempting to, might 
have drawn charming pictures of the 
hfe of his day; Lord Byron in a 
stanza of Don Juan, aiming at the im- 
possible, might have achieved the sub- 
lime; Oscar Wilde, heaping jewels of 
Ispahan upon brocades of Byzantium, 
might have created a troubling beauty. 
Considering it, the mind reeled under 
visions of the feasts of Elagabalus; and 
the subtle harmonies of Debussy min- 
gled with the musty, fragrant romance 
of chests in which have been kept old 
clothes, ruffs, hose, doublets, of a for- 
gotten generation, and the wan odour 
of lilies of the valley and the savour 
of Cheddar cheese. 

Hayward discovered the tavern at 
which this priceless beverage was to be 
obtained by meeting in the street a 
man called Macalister who had been 
at Cambridge with him. He was a 
stockbroker and a philosopher. He was 
accustomed to go to the tavern once a 
week; and soon Philip, Lawson, and 
Hayward got into the habit of meeting 
there every Tuesday evening: change 
of manners made it now little fre- 
quented, which was an advantage to 
persons who took pleasure in conver- 
sation. Macalister was a big-boned fel- 
low, much too short for his width, 
with a large, fleshy face and a soft 
voice. He was a student of Kant and 
judged everything from the standpoint 
of pure reason. He was fond of ex- 
pounding his doctrines. Philip listened 
with excited interest. He had long 
come to the conclusion that nothing 
amused him more than metaphysics, 
but he was not so sure of their 
efficacy in the affairs of life. The neat 
little system which he had formed as 
the result of his meditations at Black- 
stable had not been of conspicuous 
use during his infatuation for Mildred. 
He could not be positive that reason 
was much help in the conduct of life. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



It seemed to him that life lived itself. 
He remembered very vividly the vio- 
lence of the emotion which had pos- 
sessed him and his inability, as if he 
were tied down to the ground with 
ropes, to react against it. He read many 
wise things in books, but he could 
only judge from his own experience; 
(he did not know whether he was 
different from other people;) he did 
not calculate the pros and cons of an 
action, the benefits which must befall 
him if he did it, the harm which might 
result from the omission; but his 
whole being was urged on irresistibly. 
He did not act with a part of himself 
but altogether. The power that pos- 
sessed him seemed to have nothing to 
do with reason : all that reason did was 
to point out the methods of obtaining 
what his whole soul was striving for. 

Macalister reminded him of the 
Categorical Imperative. 

"Act so that every action of yours 
should be capable of becoming a uni- 
versal rule of action for all men." 

"That seems to me perfect non- 
sense," said Philip. 

"You're a bold man to say that of 
anything stated by Emanuel Kant," 
retorted Macalister. 

"Why? Reverence for what some- 
body said is a stultifying quality: 
there's a damned sight too much rev- 
erence in the world. Kant thought 
things not because they were true, but 
because he was Kant." 

"Well, what is your objection to 
the Categorical Imperative?" 

(They talked as though the fate 
of empires were in the balance.) 

"It suggests that one can choose 
one's course by an effort of will. And 
it suggests that reason is the surest 
guide. Why should its dictates be 
any better than those of passion? 
They're different. That's all." 

"You seem to be a contented slave 
of your passions." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



"A slave because I can't help my- 
self, but not a contented one/' laughed 
Philip. 

While he spoke he thought of that 
hot madness which had driven him in 
pursuit of Mildred. He remembered 
how he had chafed against it and how 
he had felt the degradation of it. 

"Thank God, Fm free from all that 
now," he thought. 

And yet even as he said it he was 
not quite sure whether he spoke sin- 
cerely. When he was under the in- 
fluence of passion he had felt a singu- 
lar vigour, and his mind had worked 
with unwonted force. He was more 
alive, there was an excitement in sheer 
being, an eager vehemence of soul, 
which made life now a trifle dull. 
For all the misery he had endured 
there was a compensation in that 
sense of rushing, overwhelming ex- 
istence. 

But Philip's unlucky words engaged 
him in a discussion on the freedom 
of the will, and Macalister, with his 
well-stored memory, brought out ar- 



gument after argument. He had a 
mind that delighted in dialectics, and 
he forced Philip to contradict him- 
self; he pushed him into corners from 
which he could only escape by dam- 
aging concessions; he tripped him up 
with logic and battered him with au- 
thorities. 

At last Philip said: 

"Well, I can't say anything about 
other people. I can only speak for my- 
self. The illusion of free will is so 
strong in my mind that I can't get 
away from it, but I believe it is only 
an illusion. But it is an illusion which 
is one of the strongest motives of my 
actions. Before I do anything I feel 
that I have choice, and that influ- 
ences what I do; but afterwards, when 
the thing is done, I believe that it was 
inevitable from all eternity." 

"What do you deduce from that?" 
asked Hayward. 

"Why, merely the futility of regret. 
It's no good crying over spilt milk, be- 
cause all the forces of the universe 
were bent on spilling it." 



LXVIII 



One morning Philip on getting up 
felt his head swim, and going back to 
bed suddenly discovered he was ill. 
All his limbs ached and he shivered 
with cold. When the landlady 
brought in his breakfast he called to 
her through the open door that he 
was not well, and asked for a cup 
of tea and a piece of toast. A few 
minutes later there was a knock at 
his door, and Griffiths came in. They 
had lived in the same house for over 
a year, but had never done more than 
nod to one another in the passage. 
"I say, I hear you're seedy," said 
Griffiths. "I thought I'd come in and 



see what was the matter with you." 

Philip, blushing he knew not why, 
made light of the whole thing. He 
would be all right in an hour or two. 

"Well, you'd better let me take your 
temperature," said Griffiths. 

"It's quite unnecessary," answered 
Philip irritably. 

"Come on." 

Philip put the thermometer in his 
mouth. Griffiths sat on the side of the 
bed and chatted brightly for a mo- 
ment, then he took it out and looked 
at it. 

"Now, look here, old man, you 
must stay in bed, and I'll bring old 



238 

Deacon in to have a look at you." 

"Nonsense," said Philip. "There's 
nothing the matter. I wish you 
wouldn't bother about me." 

"But it isn't any bother. You've got 
a temperature and you must stay in 
bed. You will, won't youi'" 

There was a peculiar charm in his 
manner, a mingling of gravity and 
kindliness, which was infinitely at- 
tractive. 

"You've got a wonderful bed-side 
manner," Philip murmured, closing 
his eyes with a smile. 

Griffiths shook out his pillow for 
him, deftly smoothed down the bed- 
clothes, and tucked him up. He went 
into Philip's sitting-room to look for 
a siphon, could not find one, and 
fetched it from his own room. He 
drew down the blind. 

"Now, go to sleep and I'll bring 
the old man round as soon as he's 
done the wards." 

It seemed hours before anyone 
came to Philip. His head felt as if it 
would split, anguish rent his limbs, 
and he was afraid he was going to 
cry. Then there was a knock at the 
door and Griffiths, healthy, strong, 
and cheerful, came in. 

"Here's Doctor Deacon," he said. 

The physician stepped forward, an 
elderly man with a bland manner, 
whom Philip knew only by sight. A 
few questions, a brief examination, 
and the diagnosis. 

"What d'you make it?" he asked 
Griffiths, smiling. 

"Influenza." 

"Quite right." 

Doctor Deacon looked round the 
dingy lodging-house room. 

"Wouldn't you like to go to the 
hospital? They'll put you in a private 
ward, and you can be better looked 
after than you can here." 

"I'd rather stay where I am," said 
Philip. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



He did not want to be disturbed, 
and he was always shy of new sur- 
roundings. He did not fancy nurses 
fussing about him, and the dreary 
cleanliness of the hospital. 

"I can look after him, sir," said 
Griffiths at once. 

"Oh, very well." 

He wrote a prescription, gave in- 
structions, and left. 

"Now you've got to do exactly as I 
tell you," said Griffiths. "I'm day- 
nurse and night-nurse all in one." 

"It's very kind of you, but I shan't 
want anything," said Philip. 

Griffiths put his hand on Philip's 
forehead, a large cool, dry hand, and 
the touch seemed to him good. 

"I'm just going to take this round 
to the dispensary to have it made up, 
and then I'll come back." 

In a little while he brought the 
medicine and gave Philip a dose. 
Then he went upstairs to fetch 
his books. 

"You won't mind my working in 
your room this afternoon, will you?" 
he said, when he came down. "I'll 
leave the door open so that you can 
give me a shout if you want any- 
thing." 

Later in the day Philip, awaking 
from an uneasy doze, heard voices in 
his sitting-room. A friend had come 
in to see Griffiths. 

"I say, you'd better not come in 
tonight," he heard Griffiths saying. 

And then a minute or two after- 
wards someone else entered the room 
and expressed his surprise at finding 
Griffiths there. Philip heard him ex- 
plain. 

"I'm looking after a second year's 
man who's got these rooms. The 
wretched blighter's down with in- 
fluenza. No whist tonight, old man." 

Presently Griffiths was left alone 
and Philip called him. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



2-39 



"I say, you're not putting oflF a 
party tonight, are you?" he asked. 

"Not on your account. I must work 
at my surgery." 

"Don't put it off. I shall be all 
right. You needn't bother about me." 

"That's all right." 

Philip grew worse. As the night 
came on he became slightly delirious, 
but towards morning he awoke from 
a restless sleep. He saw Griffiths get 
out of an arm-chair, go down on his 
knees, and with his fingers put piece 
after piece of coal on the fire. He was 
in pyjamas and a dressing-gown. 

"What are you doing here?" 
he asked. 

"Did I wake you up? I tried to 
make up the fire without making a 
row." 

"Why aren't you in bed? What's 
the time?" 

"About five. I thought I'd better sit 
up with you tonight. I brought an 
arm-chair in as I thought if I put a 
mattress down I should sleep so 
soundly that I shouldn't hear you if 
you wanted anything." 

"I wish you wouldn't be so good 
to me," groaned Philip. "Suppose you 
catch it?" 

"Then you shall nurse me, old 
man," said Griffiths, with a laugh. 

In the morning Griffiths drew up 
the blind. He looked pale and tired 
after his night's watch, but was full 
of spirits. 

"Now, I'm going to wash you," he 
said to Philip cheerfully. 

"I can wash myself," said Philip, 
ashamed. 

"Nonsense. If you were in the small 
ward a nurse would wash you, and I 
can do it just as well as a nurse." 

Philip, too weak and wretched to 
resist, allowed Griffiths to wash his 
hands and face, his feet, his chest and 
back. He did it with charming tender- 
ness, carrying on meanwhile a stream 



of friendly chatter; then he changed 
the sheet just as they did at the 
hospital, shook out the pillow, and 
arranged the bed-clothes. 

"I should like Sister Arthur to see 
me. It would make her sit up. Dea- 
con's coming in to see you early." 

"I can't imagine why you should 
be so good to me," said Philip. 

"It's good practice for me. It's rather 
a lark having a patient." 

Griffiths gave him his breakfast and 
went off to get dressed and have 
something to eat. A few minutes be- 
fore ten he came back with a bunch 
of grapes and a few flowers. 

"You are awfully kind," said Philip. 

He was in bed for five days. 

Norah and Griffiths nursed him be- 
tween them. Though Griffiths was the 
same age as Philip he adopted to- 
wards him a humorous, motherly atti- 
tude. He was a thoughtful fellow, 
gentle and encouraging; but his great- 
est quality was a vitality which seemed 
to give health to everyone with whom 
he came in contact. Philip was unused 
to the petting which most people en- 
joy from mothers or sisters and he was 
deeply touched by the feminine ten- 
derness of this strong young man. 
Philip grew better. Then Griffiths, 
sitting idly in Philip's room, amused 
him with gay stories of amorous ad- 
venture. He was a flirtatious creature, 
capable of carrying on three or four 
affairs at a time; and his account of 
the devices he was forced to in order 
to keep out of difficulties made ex- 
cellent hearing. He had a gift for 
throwing a romantic glamour over 
everything that happened to him. He 
was crippled with debts, everything 
he had of any value was pawned, but 
he managed always to be cheerful, 
extravagant, and generous. He was the 
adventurer by nature. He loved people 
of doubtful occupations and shifty 



240 

purposes; and his acquaintance among 
the riff-raflF that frequents the bars of 
London was enormous. Loose women, 
treating him as a friend, told him the 
troubles, difficulties, and successes of 
their lives; and card-sharpers, respect- 
ing his impecuniosity, stood him din- 
ners and lent him five-pound notes. 
He was ploughed in his examinations 
time after time; but he bore this cheer- 
fully, and submitted with such a 
charming grace to the parental ex- 
postulations that his father, a doctor 
in practice at Leeds, had not the heart 
to be seriously angry with him. 

"I'm an awful fool at books," he 
said cheerfully, "but I can't work." 

Life was much too jolly. But it was 
clear that when he had got through 
the exuberance of his youth, and was 
at last qualified, he would be a 
tremendous success in practice. He 
would cure people by the sheer charm 
of his manner. 

Philip worshipped him as at school 
he had worshipped boys who were 
tall and straight and high of spirits. 
By the time he was well they were 
fast friends, and it was a peculiar 
satisfaction to Philip that Griffiths 
seemed to enjoy sitting in his little 
parlour, wasting Philip's time with his 
amusing chatter and smoking in- 
numerable cigarettes. Philip took him 
sometimes to the tavern off Regent 
Street. Hayward found him stupid, 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



but Lawson recognised his charm and 
was eager to paint him; he was a 
picturesque figure with his blue eyes, 
white skin, and curly hair. Often 
they discussed things he knew noth- 
ing about, and then he sat quietly, 
with a good-natured smile on his 
handsome face, feeling quite rightly 
that his presence was sufficient con- 
tribution to the entertainment of the 
company. When he discovered that 
Macalister was a stockbroker he was 
eager for tips; and Macalister, with 
his grave smile, told him what for- 
tunes he could have made if he had 
bought certain stock at certain times. 
It made Philip's mouth water, for in 
one way and another he was spend- 
ing more than he had expected, and 
it would have suited him very well to 
make a little money by the easy 
method Macalister suggested. 

"Next time I hear of a really good 
thing I'll let you know," said the 
stockbroker. "They do come along 
sometimes. It's only a matter of biding 
one's time." 

Philip could not help thinking how 
delightful it would be to make fifty 
pounds, so that he could give Norah 
the furs she so badly needed for the 
winter. He looked at the shops in 
Regent Street and picked out the 
articles he could buy for the money. 
She deserved everything. She made 
his life very happy. 



LXIX 



One afternoon, when he went back 
to his rooms from the hospital to wash 
and tidy himself before going to tea 
as usual with Norah, as he let him- 
self in with his latch-key, his land- 
lady opened the door for him. 

"There's a lady waiting to see you," 



she said. 

"Me?" exclaimed Philip. 

He was surprised. It would only be 
Norah, and he had no idea what had 
brought her. 

"I shouldn't 'ave let her in, only 
she's been three times, and she seemed 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



24] 



that upset at not finding you, so I 
told her she could wait." 

He pushed past the explaining 
landlady and burst into the room. His 
heart turned sick. It was Mildred. She 
was sitting down, but got up hurriedly 
as he came in. She did not move to- 
wards him nor speak. He was so sur- 
prised that he did not know what he 
was saying. 

"What the hell dyou want?" he 
asked. 

She did not answer, but began to 
cry. She did not put her hands to 
her eyes, but kept them hanging by 
the side of her body. She looked like 
a housemaid applying for a situation. 
There was a dreadful humility in her 
bearing. Philip did not know what 
feelings came over him. He had a sud- 
den impulse to turn round and escape 
from the room. 

"I didn't think Fd ever see you 
again," he said at last. 

"I wish I was dead," she moaned. 

Philip left her standing where she 
was. He could only think at the mo- 
ment of steadying himself. His knees 
were shaking. He looked at her, and 
he groaned in despair. 

"What's the matter?" he said. 

"He's left me— Emil." 

Philip's heart bounded. He knew 
then that he loved her as passionately 
as ever. He had never ceased to love 
her. She was standing before him 
humble and unresisting. He wished to 
take her in his arms and cover her 
tear-stained face with kisses. Oh, how 
long the separation had been! He did 
not know how he could have endured 
it. 

"You'd better sit down. Let me give 
you a drink." 

He drew the chair near the fire and 
she sat in it. He mixed her whiskey 
and soda, and, sobbing still, she drank 
it. She looked at him with great, 
mournful eyes. There were large black 



lines under them. She was thinner 
and whiter than when last he had 
seen her. 

"I wish I'd married you when you 
asked me," she said. 

Philip did not know why the re- 
mark seemed to swell his heart. He 
could not keep the distance from her 
which he had forced upon himself. 
He put his hand on her shoulder. 

"I'm awfully sorry you're in 
trouble." 

She leaned her head against his 
bosom and burst into hysterical crying. 
Her hat was in the way and she took 
it off. He had never dreamt that she 
was capable of crying like that. He 
kissed her again and again. It seemed 
to ease her a Httle. 

"You were always good to me, 
Philip," she said. "That's why I 
knew I could come to you." 

"Tell me what's happened." 

"Oh, I can't, I can't," she cried out, 
breaking away from him. 

He sank down on his knees beside 
her and put his cheek against hers. 

"Don't you know that there's noth- 
ing you can't tell me? I can never 
blame you for anything." 

She told him the story httle by 
little, and sometimes she sobbed so 
much that he could hardly under- 
stand. 

"Last Monday week he went up to 
Birmingham, and he promised to be 
back on Thursday, and he never came, 
and he didn't come on the Friday, so 
I wrote to ask what was the matter, 
and he never answered the letter. And 
I wrote and said that if I didn't hear 
from him by return I'd go up to 
Birmingham, and this morning I got 
a solicitor's letter to say I had no 
claim on him, and if I molested him 
he'd seek the protection of the law." 

"But it's absurd," cried Philip. "A 
man can't treat his wife like that. Had 
you had a row?" 



242 

"Oh, yes, we'd had a quarrel on the 
Sunday, and he said he was sick of 
me, but he'd said it before, and he'd 
come back all right. I didn't think he 
meant it. He was frightened, because 
I told him a baby was coming. I kept 
it from him as long as I could. Then 
I had to tell him. He said it was my 
fault, and I ought to have known 
better. If you'd only heard the things 
he said to me! But I found out 
precious quick that he wasn't a gentle- 
man. He left me without a penny. 
He hadn't paid the rent, and I hadn't 
got the money to pay it, and the 
woman who kept the house said such 
things to me— well, I might have been 
a thief the way she talked." 

"I thought you were going to take 
a flat." 

"That's what he said, but we just 
took furnished apartments in High- 
bury. He was that mean. He said I 
was extravagant, he didn't give me 
anything to be extravagant with." 

She had an extraordinary way of 
mixing the trivial with the important. 
Philip was puzzled. The whole thing 
was incomprehensible. 

"No man could be such a black- 
guard." 

"You don't know him. I wouldn't 
go back to him now not if he was to 
come and ask me on his bended knees. 
I was a fool ever to think of him. 
And he wasn't earning the money he 
said he was. The lies he told me!" 

Philip thought for a minute or two. 
He was so deeply moved by her dis- 
tress that he could not think of him- 
self. 

"Would you like me to go to 
Birmingham? I could see him and try 
to make things up." 

"Oh, there's no chance of that. 
He'll never come back now, I know 
him." 

"But he must provide for you. He 
can't get out of that. I don't know 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



anything about these things, you'd 
better go and see a solicitor," 

"How can I? I haven't got the 
money." 

"I'll pay all that. I'll write a note 
to my own solicitor, the sportsman 
who was my father's executor. Would 
you like me to come with you now? 
I expect he'll still be at his office." 

"No, give me a letter to him. I'll 
go alone." 

She was a little calmer now. He 
sat down and wrote a note. Then he 
remembered that she had no money. 
He had fortunately changed a cheque 
the day before and was able to give 
her five pounds. 

"You are good to me, Philip," she 
said. 

"I'm so happy to be able to do 
something for you." 

"Are you fond of me still?" 

"Just as fond as ever." 

She put up her lips and he kissed 
her. There was a surrender in the ac- 
tion which he had never seen in her 
before. It was worth all the agony he 
had suffered. 

She went away and he found that 
she had been there for two hours. He 
was extraordinarily happy. 

"Poor thing, poor thing," he mur- 
mured to himself, his heart glowing 
with a greater love than he had ever 
felt before. 

He never thought of Norah at all 
till about eight o'clock a telegram 
came. He knew before opening it that 
it was from her. 

Is anything the mutter? Norah. 

He did not know what to do nor 
what to answer. He could fetch her 
after the play, in which she was walk- 
ing on, was over and stroll home with 
her as he sometimes did; but his whole 
soul revolted against the idea of seeing 
her that evening. He thought of writ- 
ing to her, but he could not bring 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



243 



himself to address her as usual, 
dearest Nor ah. He made up his mind 
to telegraph. 

Sorry. Could not get away, Philip. 

He visualised her. He was slightly 
repelled by the ugly little face, with 
its high cheek-bones and the crude 
colour. There was a coarseness in her 
skin which gave him goose-flesh. He 
knew that his telegram must be fol- 
lowed by some action on his part, but 
at all events it postponed it. 

Next day he wired again. 

Regret, unable to come. Will write. 

Mildred had suggested coming at 
four in the afternoon, and he would 
not tell her that the hour was incon- 
venient. After all she came first. He 
waited for her impatiently. He 
watched for her at the window and 
opened the front-door himself. 

"Well? Did you see Nixon?" 

"Yes," she answered. "He said it 
wasn't any good. Nothing's to be done. 
I must just grin and bear it." 

"But that's impossible," cried Philip. 

She sat down wearily. 

"Did he give any reasons?" he 
asked. 

She gave him a crumpled letter. 

"There's your letter, Philip. I 
never took it. I couldn't tell you 
yesterday, I really couldn't. Emil 
didn't marry me. He couldn't. He had 
a wife already and three children." 

Philip felt a sudden pang of jeal- 
ousy and anguish. It was almost more 
than he could bear. 

"That's why I couldn't go back to 
my aunt. There's no one I can go to 
but you." 

"What made you go away with 
him?" Philip asked, in a low voice 
which he struggled to make firm. 

"I don't know. I didn't know he 
was a married man at first, and when 
he told me I gave him a piece of my 



mind. And then I didn't see him for 
months, and when he came to the 
shop again and asked me I don't know 
what came over me. I felt as if I 
couldn't help it. I had to go with 
him." 

"Were you in love with him?" 

"I don't know. I couldn't hardly 
help laughing at the things he said. 
And there was something about him 
—he said I'd never regret it, he prom- 
ised to give me seven pounds a week 
—he said he was earning fifteen, and 
it was all a lie, he wasn't. And then 
I was sick of going to the shop every 
morning, and I wasn't getting on very 
well with my aunt; she wanted to 
treat me as a servant instead of a re- 
lation, said I ought to do my own 
room, and if I didn't do it nobody 
was going to do it for me. Oh, I wish 
I hadn't. But when he came to the 
shop and asked me I felt I couldn't 
help it." 

Philip moved away from her. He 
sat down at the table and buried his 
face in his hands. He felt dreadfully 
humiliated. 

"You're not angry with me, Philip?" 
she asked piteously. 

"No," he answered, looking up but 
away from her, "only I'm awfully 
hurt." 

"Why?" 

"You see, I was so dreadfully in 
love with you. I did everything I 
could to make you care for me. I 
thought you were incapable of loving 
anyone. It's so horrible to know that 
you were willing to sacrifice every- 
thing for that bounder. I wonder what 
you saw in him." 

"I'm awfully sorry, Philip. I re- 
gretted it bitterly afterwards, I promise 
you that." 

He thought of Emil Miller, with 
his pasty, unhealthy look, his shifty 
blue eyes, and the vulgar smartness 
of his appearance; he always wore 



244 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



bright red knitted waistcoats. Philip 
sighed. She got up and went to him. 
She put her arm round his neck. 

"I shall never forget that you 
offered to marry me, Philip." 

He took her hand and looked up 
at her. She bent down and kissed him. 

"Philip, if you want me still I'll do 
anything you like now. I know you're 
a gentleman in every sense of the 
word." 

His heart stood still. Her words 
made him feel slightly sick. 

"It's awfully good of you, but I 
couldn't." 

"Don't you care for me any more?" 

"Yes, I love you with all my heart." 

"Then why shouldn't we have a 
good time while we've got the chance? 
You see, it can't matter now." 

He released himself from her. 

"You don't understand. I've been 
sick with love for you ever since I 
saw you, but now— that man. I've un- 
fortunately got a vivid imagination. 
The thought of it simply disgusts me." 

"You are funny," she said. 

He took her hand again and smiled 
at her. 

"You mustn't think I'm not grate- 
ful. I can never thank you enough, 
but you see, it's just stronger than I 
am." 

"You are a good friend, Philip." 

They went on talking, and soon 
they had returned to the familiar com- 
panionship of old days. It grew late. 
Philip suggested that they should dine 
together and go to a music-hall. She 
wanted some persuasion, for she had 
an idea of acting up to her situation, 
and felt instinctively that it did not 
accord with her distressed condition 
to go to a place of entertainment. At 
last Philip asked her to go simply to 
please him, and when she could look 
upon it as an act of self-sacrifice she 
accepted. She had a new thoughtful- 
ness which delighted Philip. She 



asked him to take her to the little 
restaurant in Soho to which they had 
so often been; he was infinitely grate- 
ful to her, because her suggestion 
showed that happy memories were 
attached to it. She grew much more 
cheerful as dinner proceeded. The 
Burgundy from the public house at 
the corner warmed her heart, and she 
forgot that she ought to preserve a 
dolorous countenance. Philip thought 
it safe to speak to her of the future. 

"I suppose you haven't got a brass 
farthing, have you?" he asked, when 
an opportunity presented itself. 

"Only what you gave me yesterday, 
and I had to give the landlady three 
pounds of that." 

"Well, I'd better give you a tenner 
to go on with. I'll go and see my 
solicitor and get him to write 
to Miller. We can make him pay up 
something, I'm sure. If we can get a 
hundred pounds out of him it'll carry 
you on till after the baby comes." 

"I wouldn't take a penny from him. 
I'd rather starve." 

"But it's monstrous that he should 
leave you in the lurch like this." 

"I've got my pride to consider." 

It was a little awkward for Philip. 
He needed rigid economy to make his 
own money last till he was qualified, 
and he must have something over to 
keep him during the year he intended 
to spend as house physician and house 
surgeon either at his own or at some 
other hospital. But Mildred had told 
him various stories of Emil's mean- 
ness, and he was afraid to remonstrate 
with her in case she accused him too 
of want of generosity. 

"I wouldn't take a penny piece 
from him. I'd sooner beg my bread. 
I'd have seen about getting some work 
to do long before now, only 
it wouldn't be good for me in the 
state I'm in. You have to think of 
your health, don't you?" 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



245 



"You needn't bother about the pres- 
ent," said Phihp. "I can let you have 
all you want till you're fit to work 
again." 

"I knew I could depend on you. I 
told Emil he needn't think I hadn't 
got somebody to go to. I told him you 
was a gentleman in every sense of the 
word." 

By degrees Philip learned how the 
separation had come about. It ap- 
peared that the fellow's wife had dis- 
covered the adventure he was engaged 
in during his periodical visits to Lon- 
don, and had gone to the head of the 
firm that employed him. She threat- 
ened to divorce him, and they an- 
nounced that they would dismiss him 
if she did. He was passionately de- 
voted to his children and could not 
bear the thought of being separated 
from them. When he had to choose 
between his wife and his mistress he 
chose his wife. He had been always 
anxious that there should be no child 
to make the entanglement more com- 
plicated; and when Mildred, unable 
longer to conceal its approach, in- 
formed him of the fact, he was seized 
with panic. He picked a quarrel and 
left her without more ado. 

"When d'you expect to be con- 
fined?" asked Philip. 

"At the beginning of March." 

"Three months." 



It was necessary to discuss plans. 
Mildred declared she would not re- 
main in the rooms at Highbury, and 
Philip thought it more convenient too 
that she should be nearer to him. He 
promised to look for something next 
day. She suggested the Vauxhall 
Bridge Road as a likely neighbour- 
hood. 

"And it would be near for after- 
wards," she said. 

"What do you mean?" 

"Well, I should only be able to 
stay there about two months or a little 
more, and then I should have to go 
into a house. I know a very respect- 
able place, where they have a most 
superior class of people, and they take 
you for four guineas a week and no 
extras. Of course the doctor's extra, 
but that's all. A friend of mine went 
there, and the lady who keeps it is a 
thorough lady. I mean to tell her that 
my husband's an officer in India and 
I've come to London for my baby, 
because it's better for my health." 

It seemed extraordinary to Philip 
to hear her talking in this way. With 
her dehcate little features and her pale 
face she looked cold and maidenly. 
When he thought of the passions that 
burnt within her, so unexpected, his 
heart was strangely troubled. His pulse 
beat quickly. 



LXX 



Philip expected to find a letter 
from Norah when he got back to his 
rooms, but there was nothing; nor did 
he receive one the following morning. 
The silence irritated and at the same 
time alarmed him. They had seen one 
another every day he had been 
in London since the previous June; 



and it must seem odd to her that he 
should let two days go by without 
visiting her or offering a reason for 
his absence; he wondered whether by 
an unlucky chance she had seen him 
with Mildred. He could not bear to 
think that she was hurt or unhappy, 
and he made up his mind to call on 



246 

her that afternoon. He was almost in- 
clined to reproach her because he had 
allowed himself to get on such inti- 
mate terms with her. The thought of 
continuing them filled him with dis- 
gust. 

He found two rooms for Mildred 
on the second floor of a house in the 
Vauxhall Bridge Road. They were 
noisy, but he knew that she liked the 
rattle of traffic under her windows. 

"I don't like a dead and alive street 
where you don't see a soul pass all 
day," she said. "Give me a bit of life." 

Then he forced himself to go to 
Vincent Square. He was sick with 
apprehension when he rang the bell. 
He had an uneasy sense that he was 
treating Norah badly; he dreaded re- 
proaches; he knew she had a quick 
temper, and he hated scenes: perhaps 
the best way would be to tell her 
frankly that Mildred had come back 
to him and his love for her was as 
violent as it had ever been; he was 
very sorry, but he had nothing to offer 
Norah any more. Then he thought of 
her anguish, for he knew she loved 
him; it had flattered him before, and 
he was immensely grateful; but now 
it was horrible. She had not deserved 
that he should inflict pain upon her. 
He asked himself how she would 
greet him now, and as he walked up 
the stairs all possible forms of her be- 
haviour flashed across his mind. He 
knocked at the door. He felt that he 
was pale, and wondered how to con- 
ceal his nervousness. 

She was writing away industriously, 
but she sprang to her feet as he 
entered. 

"I recognised your step," she cried. 
"Where have you been hiding your- 
self, you naughty boy?" 

She came towards him joyfully and 
put her arms round his neck. She was 
dehghted to see him. He kissed her, 
and then, to give himself coun- 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



tenance, said he was dying for tea. 
She bustled the fire to make the kettle 
boil. 

"I've been awfully busy," he said 
lamely. 

She began to chatter in her bright 
way, telling him of a new commission 
she had to provide a novelette for a 
firm which had not hitherto employed 
her. She was to get fifteen guineas for 
it. 

"It's money from the clouds. I'll 
tell you what we'll do, we'll stand 
ourselves a little jaunt. Let's go and 
spend a day at Oxford, shall we? I'd 
love to see the colleges." 

He looked at her to see whether 
there was any shadow of reproach in 
her eyes; but they were as frank and 
merry as ever: she was overjoyed to 
see him. His heart sank. He could not 
tell her the brutal truth. She made 
some toast for him, and cut it into 
little pieces, and gave it him as though 
he were a child. 

"Is the brute fed?" she asked. 

He nodded, smiling; and she lit a 
cigarette for him. Then, as she loved 
to do, she came and sat on his knees. 
She was very light. She leaned back 
in his arms with a sigh of delicious 
happiness. 

"Say something nice to me," she 
murmured. 

"What shall I say?" 

"You might by an effort of imagi- 
nation say that you rather liked me." 

"You know I do that." 

He had not the heart to tell her 
then. He would give her peace at all 
events for that day, and perhaps he 
might write to her. That would be 
easier. He could not bear to think of 
her crying. She made him kiss her, 
and as he kissed her he thought of 
Mildred and Mildred's pale, thin lips. 
The recollection of Mildred remained 
with him all the time, like an in- 
corporated form, but more substantial 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



247 



than a shadow; and the sight con- 
tinually distracted his attention. 

"You're very quiet today," Norah 
said. 

Her loquacity was a standing joke 
between them, and he answered: 

"You never let me get a word in, 
and I've got out of the habit of talk- 
ing." 

"But you're not Hstening, and that's 
bad manners." 

He reddened a little, wondering 
whether she had some inkling of his 
secret; he turned away his eyes un- 
easily. The weight of her irked him 
this afternoon, and he did not want 
her to touch him. 

"My foot's gone to sleep," he said. 

"I'm so sorry," she cried, jumping 
up. "I shall have to bant if I can't 
break myself of this habit of sitting 
on gentlemen's knees." 

He went through an elaborate form 
of stamping his foot and walking 
about. Then he stood in front of the 
fire so that she should not resume her 
position. While she talked he thought 
that she was worth ten of Mildred; 
she amused him much more and was 
jollier to talk to; she was cleverer, and 
she had a much nicer nature. She was 
a good, brave, honest little woman; 
and Mildred, he thought bitterly, de- 
served none of these epithets. If he 
had any sense he would stick 
to Norah, she would make him much 
happier than he would ever be with 
Mildred: after all she loved him, and 
Mildred was only grateful for his 
help. But when all was said the im- 
portant thing was to love rather than 
to be loved; and he yearned for 
Mildred with his whole soul. He 
would sooner have ten minutes with 
her than a whole afternoon with 
Norah, he prized one kiss of her cold 
lips more than all Norah could give 
him. 

"I can't help myself," he thought. 



"I've just got her in my bones." 

He did not care if she was heartless, 
vicious and vulgar, stupid and grasp- 
ing, he loved her. He would rather 
have misery with the one than happi- 
ness with the other. 

When he got up to go Norah said 
casually: 

"Well, I shall see you tomorrow, 
shan't D" 

"Yes," he answered. 

He knew that he would not be 
able to come, since he was going to 
help Mildred with her moving, but 
he had not the courage to say so. He 
made up his mind that he would send 
a wire. Mildred saw the rooms in the 
morning, was satisfied with them, and 
after luncheon Philip went up with 
her to Highbury. She had a trunk for 
her clothes and another for the various 
odds and ends, cushions, lampshades, 
photograph frames, with which she 
had tried to give the apartments a 
home-like air; she had two or three 
large cardboard boxes besides, but in 
all there was no more than could be 
put on the roof of a four-wheeler. As 
they drove through Victoria Street 
Philip sat well back in the cab in case 
Norah should happen to be passing. 
He had not had an opportunity to 
telegraph and could not do so from 
the postoffice in the Vauxhall Bridge 
Road, since she would wonder what 
he was doing in that neighbourhood; 
and if he was there he could have no 
excuse for not going into the neigh- 
bouring square where she lived. He 
made up his mind that he had better 
go in and see her for half an hour; 
but the necessity irritated him : he was 
angry with Norah, because she forced 
him to vulgar and degrading shifts. 
But he was happy to be with Mildred. 
It amused him to help her with the 
unpacking; and he experienced a 
charming sense of possession in in- 
stalling her in these lodgings which 



248 

he had found and was paying for. 
He would not let her exert herself. 
It was a pleasure to do things for 
her, and she had no desire to do what 
somebody else seemed desirous to do 
for her. He unpacked her clothes and 
put them away. She was not propos- 
ing to go out again, so he got her 
slippers and took off her boots. It de- 
lighted him to perform menial ofl&ces. 

"You do spoil me," she said, run- 
ning her fingers affectionately through 
his hair, while he was on his knees 
unbuttoning her boots. 

He took her hands and kissed them. 

"It is nipping to have you here." 

He arranged the cushions and the 
photograph frames. She had several 
jars of green earthenware. 

"I'll get you some flowers for them," 
he said. 

He looked round at his work 
proudly. 

"As I'm not going out any more I 
think I'll get into a teagown," she said. 
"Undo me behind, will you?" 

She turned round as unconcernedly 
as though he were a woman. His sex 
meant nothing to her. But his heart 
was filled with gratitude for the in- 
timacy her request showed. He undid 
the hooks and eyes with clumsy 
fingers. 

"That first day I came into the 
shop I never thought I'd be doing this 
for you now," he said, with a laugh 
which he forced. 

"Somebody must do it," she an- 
swered. 

She went into the bed-room and 
slipped into a pale blue teagown dec- 
orated with a great deal of cheap lace. 
Then Philip settled her on a sofa and 
made tea for her. 

"I'm afraid I can't stay and have it 
with you," he said regretfully. "I've 
got a beastly appointment. But I shall 
be back in half an hour." 

He wondered what he should say 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



if she asked him what the appoint- 
ment was, but she showed no 
curiosity. He had ordered dinner for 
the two of them when he took the 
rooms, and proposed to spend the eve- 
ning with her quietly. He was in such 
a hurry to get back that he took a 
tram along the Vauxhall Bridge Road. 
He thought he had better break the 
fact to Norah at once that he could 
not stay more than a few minutes. 

"I say, I've got only just time to say 
how d'you do," he said, as soon as 
he got into her rooms. "I'm frightfully 
busy." 

Her face fell. 

"Why, what's the matter?" 

It exasperated him that she should 
force him to tell lies, and he knew 
that he reddened when he answered 
that there was a demonstration at the 
hospital which he was bound to go 
to. He fancied that she looked as 
though she did not believe him, and 
this irritated him all the more. 

"Oh, well, it doesn't matter," she 
said. "I shall have you all tomorrow." 

He looked at her blankly. It was 
Sunday, and he had been looking for- 
ward to spending the day with 
Mildred. He told himself that he 
must do that in common decency; he 
could not leave her by herself in a 
strange house. 

"I'm awfully sorry, I'm engaged to- 
morrow." 

He knew this was the beginning of 
a scene which he would have given 
anything to avoid. The colour on 
Norah's cheeks grew brighter. 

"But I've asked the Gordons to 
lunch"— they were an actor and his 
wife who were touring the provinces 
and in London for Sunday— "I told 
you about it a week ago." 

"I'm awfully sorry, I forgot." He 
hesitated. "I'm afraid I can't possibly 
come. Isn't there somebody else you 
can get?" 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



249 



"What are you doing tomorrow 
then?" 

"I wish you wouldn't cross-examine 
me." 

"Don't you want to tell me?" 

"I don't in the least mind telling 
you, but it's rather annoying to be 
forced to account for all one's move- 
ments." 

Norah suddenly changed. With an 
effort of self-control she got the better 
of her temper, and going up to him 
took his hands. 

"Don't disappoint me tomorrow, 
Philip, I've been looking forward so 
much to spending the day with you. 
The Gordons want to see you, and 
we'll have such a jolly time." 

"I'd love to if I could." 

"I'm not very exacting, am I? I 
don't often ask you to do anything 
that's a bother. Won't you get out of 
your horrid engagement— just this 
once?" 

"I'm awfully sorry, I don't see how 
I can," he replied sullenly. 

"Tell me what it is," she said coax- 
ingly. 

He had had time to invent some- 
thing. 

"Griffiths' two sisters are up for the 
week-end and we're taking them out." 

"Is that all?" she said joyfully. 
"Griffiths can so easily get another 
man." 

He wished he had thought of some- 
thing more urgent than that. It was a 
clumsy lie. 

"No, I'm awfully sorry, I can't— 
I've promised and I mean to keep my 
promise." 

"But you promised me too. Surely 
I come first." 

"I wish you wouldn't persist," he 
said. 

She flared up. 

*Tou won't come because you don't 
want to. I don't know what you've 
been doing the last few days, you've 



been quite different." 

He looked at his watch. 

"I'm afraid I'll have to be going," 
he said. 

"You won't come tomorrow?" 

"No." 

"In that case you needn't trouble 
to come again," she cried, losing her 
temper for good. 

"That's just as you like," he an- 
swered. 

"Don't let me detain you any 
longer," she added ironically. 

He shrugged his shoulders and 
walked out. He was relieved that it 
had gone no worse. There had been 
no tears. As he walked along he con- 
gratulated himself on getting out of 
the affair so easily. He went into Vic- 
toria Street and bought a few flowers 
to take in to Mildred. 

The little dinner was a great suc- 
cess. Philip had sent in a small pot of 
caviare, which he knew she was very 
fond of, and the landlady brought 
them up some cutlets with vegetables 
and a sweet. Philip had ordered Bur- 
gundy, which was her favourite wine. 
With the curtains drawn, a bright fire, 
and one of Mildred's shades on the 
lamp, the room was cosy. 

"It's really just like home," smiled 
Philip. 

"I might be worse off, mightn't I?" 
she answered. 

When they finished, Philip drew 
two arm-chairs in front of the fire, 
and they sat down. He smoked his 
pipe comfortably. He felt happy and 
generous. 

"What would you like to do to- 
morrow?" he asked. 

"Oh, I'm going to Tulse Hill. You 
remember the manageress at the shop, 
well, she's married now, and she's 
asked me to go and spend the day 
with her. Of course she thinks I'm 
married too." 



250 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Philip's heart sank. 

"But I refused an invitation so that 
I might spend Sunday with you." 

He thought that if she loved him 
she would say that in that case she 
would stay with him. He knew very 
well that Norah would not have hesi- 
tated. 

"Well, you were a silly to do that. 
IVe promised to go for three weeks 
and more." 

"But how can you go alone?" 

"Oh, I shall say that Emil's away 
on business. Her husband's in the 
glove trade, and he's a very superior 
fellow." 

Philip was silent, and bitter feelings 
passed through his heart. She gave 
him a sidelong glance. 

'Tou don't grudge me a little pleas- 
ure, Phihp? You see, it's the last time 



I shall be able to go anywhere for I 
don't know how long, and I had prom- 
ised." 

He took her hand and smiled. 

"No, darling, I want you to have 
the best time you can. I only want you 
to be happy." 

There was a little book bound in 
blue paper lying open, face down- 
wards, on the sofa, and Philip idly 
took it up. It was a two-penny novel- 
ette, and the author was Courtenay 
Paget. That was the name under 
which Norah wrote. 

"I do like his books," said Mildred. 
"I read them all. They're so refined." 

He remembered what Norah had 
said of herself. 

"I have an immense popularity 
among kitchen-maids. They think me 
so genteel." 



LXXI 



Philip, in return for Griffiths' con- 
fidences, had told him the details of 
his own complicated amours, and on 
Sunday morning, after breakfast when 
they sat by the fire in their dressing- 
gowns and smoked, he recounted the 
scene of the previous day. Griffiths con- 
gratulated him because he had got out 
of his difficulties so easily. 

"It's the simplest thing in the world 
to have an affair with a woman," he 
remarked sententiously, "but it's a 
devil of a nuisance to get out of it." 

Philip felt a little inclined to pat 
himself on the back for his skill in 
managing the business. At all events 
he was immensely relieved. He 
thought of Mildred enjoying herself 
in Tulse Hill, and he found in him- 
self a real satisfaction because she 
was happy. It was an act of self-sacri- 
fice on his part that he did not grudge 



her pleasure even though paid for by 
his own disappointment, and it filled 
his heart with a comfortable glow. 
But on Monday morning he found 
on his table a letter from Norah. She 
wrote : 

Dearest, 

I'm sorry I was cross on Saturday. 
Forgive me and come to tea in the 
afternoon as usual. 1 love you. 

Your Norah. 

His heart sank, and he did not 
know what to do. He took the note 
to Griffiths and showed it to him. 

"You'd better leave it unanswered," 
said he. 

"Oh, I can't," cried Philip. "I 
should be miserable if I thought of her 
waiting and waiting. You don't know 
what it is to be sick for the postman's 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



^S 



knock. 1 do, and I can't expose any- 
body else to that torture." 

"My dear fellow, one can't break 
that sort of affair off without some- 
body suffering. You must just set your 
teeth to that. One thing is, it doesn't 
last very long." 

Philip felt that Norah had not de- 
served that he should make her suffer; 
and what did Griffiths know about 
the degrees of anguish she was capable 
of? He remembered his own pain when 
Mildred had told him she was going 
to be married. He did not want any- 
one to experience what he had experi- 
enced then. 

"If you're so anxious not to give 
her pain, go back to her," said Griffiths. 

"I can't do that." 

He got up and walked up and 
down the room nervously. He was 
angry with Norah because she had 
not let the matter rest. She must have 
seen that he had no more love to give 
her. They said women were so quick 
at seeing those things. 

"You might help me," he said to 
Griffiths. 

"My dear fellow, don't make such 
a fuss about it. People do get over 
these things, you know. She prob- 
ably isn't so wrapped up in you as you 
think, either. One's always rather apt 
to exaggerate the passion one's inspired 
other people with." 

He paused and looked at Philip 
with amusement. 

"Look here, there's only one thing 
you can do. Write to her, and tell her 
the thing's over. Put it so that there 
can be no mistake about it. It'll hurt 
her, but it'll hurt her less if you do 
the thing brutally than if you try half- 
hearted ways." 

Philip sat down and wrote the fol- 
lowing letter: 

My dear Norah, 

1 am sorry to make you unhappy, 



hut 1 think we had better let things 
remain where we left them on Satur- 
day. I don't think there's any use in 
letting these things drag on when 
they've ceased to he amusing. You 
told me to go and I went. 1 do not 
propose to come hack, Good-hye. 

Philip Carey. 

He showed the letter to Griffiths 
and asked him what he thought of 
it. Griffiths read it and looked at Philip 
with twinkling eyes. He did not say 
what he felt. 

"I think that'll do the trick," he 
said. 

Philip went out and posted it. He 
passed an uncomfortable morning, for 
he imagined with great detail what 
Norah would feel when she received 
his letter. He tortured himself with 
the thought of her tears. But at the 
same time he was relieved. Imagined 
grief was more easy to bear than grief 
seen, and he was free now to love 
Mildred with all his soul. His heart 
leaped at the thought of going to see 
her that afternoon, when his day's 
work at the hospital was over. 

When as usual he went back to his 
rooms to tidy himself, he had no 
sooner put the latch-key in his door 
than he heard a voice behind him. 

"May I come in? I've been waiting 
for you for half an hour." 

It was Norah. He felt himself blush 
to the roots of his hair. She spoke 
gaily. There was no trace of resentment 
in her voice and nothing to indicate 
that there was a rupture between 
them. He felt himself cornered. He 
was sick with fear, but he did his best 
to smile. 

"Yes, do," he said. 

He opened the door, and she pre- 
ceded him into his sitting-room. He 
was nervous and, to give himself 
countenance, offered her a cigarette 



252 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



and lit one for himself. She looked 
at him brightly. 

"Why did you write me such a 
horrid letter, you naughty boy"? If 
I'd taken it seriously it would have 
made me perfectly wretched." 

"It was meant seriously," he an- 
swered gravely. 

"Don't be so silly. I lost my temper 
the other day, and I wrote and apolo- 
gised. You weren't satisfied, so I've 
come here to apologise again. After 
all, you're your own master and I 
have no claims upon you. I don't 
want you to do anything you don't 
want to." 

She got up from the chair in which 
she was sitting and went towards him 
impulsively, with outstretched hands. 

"Let's make friends again, Philip. 
I'm so sorry if I offended you." 

He could not prevent her from tak- 
ing his hands, but he could not look 
at her. 

"I'm afraid it's too late," he said. 

She let herself downi on the floor 
by his side and clasped his knees. 

"Philip, don't be silly. I'm quick- 
tempered too and I can understand 
that I hurt you, but it's so stupid to 
sulk over it. What's the good of mak- 
ing us both unhappy? It's been so jolly, 
our friendship." She passed her fingers 
slowly over his hand. "I love you, 
Philip." 

He got up, disengaging himself 
from her, and went to the other side 
of the room. 

"I'm awfully sorry, I can't do any- 
thing. The whole thing's over." 

"D'you mean to say you don't love 
me any more?" 

"I'm afraid so." 

"You were just looking for an op- 
portunity to throw me over and you 
took that one?" 

He did not answer. She looked at 
him steadily for a time which seemed 



intolerable. She was sitting on the 
floor where he had left her, leaning 
against the arm-chair. She began to 
cry quite silently, without trying to 
hide her face, and the large tears 
rolled down her cheeks one after the 
other. She did not sob. It was horribly 
painful to see her. Philip turned away. 

"I'm awfully sorry to hurt you. It's 
not my fault if I don't love you." 

She did not answer. She merely 
sat there, as though she were over- 
whelmed, and the tears flowed down 
her cheeks. It would have been easier 
to bear if she had reproached him. 
He had thought her temper would get 
the better of her, and he was prepared 
for that. At the back of his mind was 
a feeling that a real quarrel, in which 
each said to the other cruel things, 
would in some way be a justification 
of his behaviour. The time passed. At 
last he grew frightened by her silent 
crying; he went into his bed-room and 
got a glass of water; he leaned over 
her. 

"Won't you drink a little? It'll re- 
lieve you." 

She put her lips listlessly to the 
glass and drank two or three mouth- 
fuls. Then in an exhausted whisper 
she asked him for a handkerchief. She 
dried her eyes. 

"Of course I knew you never loved 
me as much as I loved you," she 
moaned. 

"I'm afraid that's always the case," 
he said. "There's always one who 
loves and one who lets himself be 
loved." 

He thought of Mildred, and a bit- 
ter pain traversed his heart. Norah did 
not answer for a long time. 

"I'd been so miserably unhappy, 
and my life was so hateful," she said 
at last. 

She did not speak to him, but to 
herself. He had never heard her be- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



fore complain of the life she had led 
with her husband or of her poverty. 
He had always admired the bold front 
she displayed to the world. 

"And then you came along and 
you were so good to me. And I ad- 
mired you because you were clever 
and it was so heavenly to have some- 
one I could put my trust in. I loved 
you. I never thought it could come to 
an end. And without any fault of 
mine at all." 

Her tears began to flow again, but 
now she was more mistress of herself, 
and she hid her face in Philip's hand- 
kerchief. She tried hard to control her- 
self. 

"Give me some more water," she 
said. 

She wiped her eyes. 

"I'm sorry to make such a fool of 
myself. I was so unprepared." 

"Fm awfully sorry, Norah. I want 
you to know that Fm very grateful 
for all you've done for me." 

He wondered what it was she saw 
in him. 

"Oh, it's always the same," she 
sighed, "if you want men to behave 
well to you, you must be beastly to 
them; if you treat them decently they 
make you suffer for it." 

She got up from the floor and said 
she must go. She gave Philip a long, 
steady look. Then she sighed. 

"It's so inexplicable. What does it 
all mean:*" 

Philip took a sudden determination. 

"I think I'd better tell you, I don't 
want you to think too badly of me, I 
want you to see that I can't help my- 
self. Mildred's come back." 

The colour came to her face. 

"Why didn't you tell me at once? 
I deserved that surely." 

"I was afraid to." 

She looked at herself in the glass 
and set her hat straight. 



2-53 

"Will you call me a cab," she said. 
"I don't feel I can walk." 

He went to the door and stopped a 
passing hansom; but when she fol- 
lowed him into the street he was 
startled to see how white she was. 
There was a heaviness in her move- 
ments as though she had suddenly 
grown older. She looked so ill that 
he had not the heart to let her go 
alone. 

"I'll drive back with you if you 
don't mind." 

She did not answer, and he got 
into the cab. They drove along in 
silence over the bridge, through 
shabby streets in which children, with 
shrill cries, played in the road. When 
they arrived at her door she did not 
immediately get out. It seemed as 
though she could not summon enough 
strength to her legs to move. 

"I hope you'll forgive me, Norah," 
he said. 

She turned her eyes towards him, 
and he saw that they were bright again 
with tears, but she forced a smile to 
her lips. 

"Poor fellow, you're quite worried 
about me. You mustn't bother. I 
don't blame you. I shall get over it all 
right." 

Lightly and quickly she stroked his 
face to show him that she bore no 
ill-feeling, the gesture was scarcely 
more than suggested; then she jumped 
out of the cab and let herself into 
her house. 

Philip paid the hansom and walked 
to Mildred's lodgings. There was a 
curious heaviness in his heart. He 
was inclined to reproach himself. But 
why? He did not know what else he 
could have done. Passing a fruiterer's, 
he remembered that Mildred was fond 
of grapes. He was so grateful that he 
could show his love for her by recol- 
lecting every whim she had. 



254 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



LXXII 



For the next three months Philip 
went every day to see Mildred. He 
took his books with him and after tea 
worked, while Mildred lay on the 
sofa reading novels. Sometimes he 
would look up and watch her for a 
minute. A happy smile crossed his 
lips. She would feel his eyes upon 
her. 

"Don't waste your time looking at 
me, silly. Go on with your work," 
she said. 

"Tyrant,** he answered gaily. 

He put aside his book when the 
landlady came in to lay the cloth for 
dinner, and in his high spirits he ex- 
changed chaff with her. She was a lit- 
tle cockney, of middle-age, with an 
amusing humour and a quick tongue. 
Mildred had become great friends with 
her and had given her an elaborate 
but mendacious account of the cir- 
cumstances which had brought her to 
the pass she was in. The good-hearted 
little woman was touched and found 
no trouble too great to make Mildred 
comfortable. Mildred's sense of pro- 
priety had suggested that Philip 
should pass himself off as her brother. 
They dined together, and Philip was 
delighted when he had ordered some- 
thing which tempted Mildred's capri- 
cious appetite. It enchanted him to 
see her sitting opposite him, and every 
now and then from sheer joy he took 
her hand and pressed it. After dinner 
she sat in the arm-chair by the fire, 
and he settled himself down on the 
floor beside her, leaning against her 
knees, and smoked. Often they did 
not talk at all, and sometimes Philip 
noticed that she had fallen into a doze. 
He dared not move then in case he 



woke her, and he sat very quietly, 
looking lazily into the fire and enjoy- 
ing his happiness. 

"Had a nice little nap?" he smiled, 
when she woke. 

"I've not been sleeping," she an- 
swered. "I only just closed my eyes." 

She would never acknowledge that 
she had been asleep. She had a phleg- 
matic temperament, and her condition 
did not seriously inconvenience her. 
She took a lot of trouble about her 
health and accepted the advice of any- 
one who chose to offer it. She went 
for a 'constitutional' every morning 
that it was fine and remained out a 
definite time. When it was not too 
cold she sat in St. James' Park. But 
the rest of the day she spent quite 
happily on her sofa, reading one novel 
after another or chatting with the 
landlady; she had an inexhaustible 
interest in gossip, and told Philip with 
abundant detail the history of the 
landlady, of the lodgers on the draw- 
ing-room floor, and of the people who 
lived in the next house on either side. 
Now and then she was seized with 
panic; she poured out her fears to 
Philip about the pain of the confine- 
ment and was in terror lest she should 
die; she gave him a full account of the 
confinements of the landlady and of 
the lady on the drawing-room floor 
(Mildred did not know her; "I'm one 
to keep myself to myself," she said, 
"Fm not one to go about with any- 
body.") and she narrated details with 
a queer mixture of horror and gusto; 
but for the most part she looked for- 
ward to the occurrence with equa- 
nimity. 

"After all, I'm not the first one to 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



255 



have a baby, am I? And the doctor 
says I shan't have any trouble. You 
see, it isn't as if I wasn't well made." 

Mrs. Owen, the owner of the house 
she was going to when her time came, 
had recommended a doctor, and Mil- 
dred saw him once a week. He was to 
charge fifteen guineas. 

"Of course I could have got it done 
cheaper, but Mrs. Owen strongly rec- 
ommended him, and I thought it 
wasn't worth while to spoil the ship 
for a coat of tar." 

"If you feel happy and comfortable 
I don't mind a bit about the expense," 
said Philip. 

She accepted all that Philip did for 
her as if it were the most natural 
thing in the world, and on his side he 
loved to spend money on her: each 
five-pound note he gave her caused 
him a little thrill of happiness and 
pride; he gave her a good many, for 
she was not economical. 

"I don't know where the money 
goes to," she said herself, "it seems 
to slip through my fingers like water." 

"It doesn't matter," said Philip. "I'm 
so glad to be able to do anything I can 
for you." 

She could not sew well and so did 
not make the necessary things for the 
baby; she told Philip it was much 
cheaper in the end to buy them. 
Philip had lately sold one of the 
mortgages in which his money had 
been put; and now, with five hundred 
pounds in the bank waiting to be 
invested in something that could be 
more easily realised, he felt himself 
uncommonly well-to-do. They talked 
often of the future. Philip was anx- 
ious that Mildred should keep the 
child with her, but she refused: she 
had her living to earn, and it would 
be more easy to do this if she had 
not also to look after a baby. Her 
plan was to get back into one of the 
shops of the company for which she 



had worked before, and the child 
could be put with some decent 
woman in the country. 

"I can find someone who'll look 
after it well for seven and sixpence a 
week. It'll be better for the baby and 
better for me." 

It seemed callous to Philip, but 
when he tried to reason with her she 
pretended to think he was concerned 
with the expense. 

"You needn't worry about that," she 
said. "I shan't ask you to pay for it." 

"You know I don't care how much 
I pay." 

At the bottom of her heart was the 
hope that the child would be still- 
born. She did no more than hint it, 
but Philip saw that the thought 
was there. He was shocked at first; and 
then, reasoning with himself, he was 
obliged to confess that for all con- 
cerned such an event was to be de- 
sired. 

"It's all very fine to say this and 
that," Mildred remarked querulously, 
"but it's jolly difficult for a girl to 
earn her hving by herself; it doesn't 
make it any easier when she's got a 
baby." 

"Fortunately you've got me to fall 
back on," smiled Philip, taking her 
hand. 

"You've been good to me, Philip." 

"Oh, what rot!" 

"You can't say I didn't offer any- 
thing in return for what you've done." 

"Good heavens, I don't want a re- 
turn. If I've done anything for you, 
I've done it because I love you. You 
owe me nothing. I don't want you to 
do anything unless you love me." 

He was a little horrified by her 
feeling that her body was a com- 
modity which she could deliver in- 
differently as an acknowledgment for 
services rendered. 

"But I do want to, Philip. You've 
been so good to me." 



256 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"Well, it won't hurt for waiting. 
When you're all right again we'll go 
for our little honeymoon." 

"You are naughty," she said, smil- 
ing. 

Mildred expected to be confined 
early in March, and as soon as she 
was well enough she was to go to the 
seaside for a fortnight: that would 
give Philip a chance to work without 
interruption for his examination; 
after that came the Easter holidays, 
and they had arranged to go to Paris 
together. PhiHp talked endlessly of 
the things they would do. Paris was 
delightful then. They would take a 
room in a little hotel he knew in 
the Latin Quarter, and they would 
eat in all sorts of charming little res- 
taurants; they would go to the play, 
and he would take her to music-halls. 
It would amuse her to meet his friends. 
He had talked to her about Cron- 
shaw, she would see him; and there 
was Lawson, he had gone to Paris for 
a couple of months; and they would 
go to the Bal BuUier; there were ex- 
cursions; they would make trips to 
Versailles, Chartres, Fontainebleau. 

"It'll cost a lot of money," she said. 

"Oh, damn the expense. Think 
how I've been looking forward to 
it. Don't you know what it means to 
me? I've never loved anyone but you. 
I never shall." 

She listened to his enthusiasm with 
smiling eyes. He thought he saw in 
them a new tenderness, and he was 
grateful to her. She was much gentler 
than she used to be. There was in her 
no longer the superciliousness which 
had irritated him. She was so ac- 
customed to him now that she took no 
pains to keep up before him any 
pretences. She no longer troubled to 
do her hair with the old elaboration, 
but just tied it in a knot; and she left 
off the vast fringe which she generally 
wore: the more careless style suited 



her. Her face was so thin that it made 
her eyes seem very large; there were 
heavy lines under them, and the pal- 
lor of her cheeks made their colour 
more profound. She had a wistful 
look which was infinitely pathetic. 
There seemed to Philip to be in her 
something of the Madonna. He 
wished they could continue in that 
same way always. He was happier 
than he had ever been in his life. 

He used to leave her at ten o'clock 
every night, for she liked to go to bed 
early, and he was obliged to put in 
another couple of hours' work to make 
up for the lost evening. He generally 
brushed her hair for her before he 
went. He had made a ritual of the 
kisses he gave her when he bade her 
good-night; first he kissed the palms 
of her hands, (how thin the fingers 
were, the nails were beautiful, for she 
spent much time in manicuring 
them,) then he kissed her closed eyes, 
first the right one and then the left, 
and at last he kissed her lips. He went 
home with a heart overflowing with 
love. He longed for an opportunity to 
gratify the desire for self-sacrifice 
which consimied him. 

Presently the time came for her to 
move to the nursing-home where she 
was to be confined. Philip was then 
able to visit her only in the afternoons. 
Mildred changed her story and repre- 
sented herself as the wife of a soldier 
who had gone to India to join his 
regiment, and Philip was introduced 
to the mistress of the estabHshment 
as her brother-in-law. 

"I have to be rather careful what I 
say," she told him, "as there's another 
lady here whose husband's in the In- 
dian Civil." 

"I wouldn't let that disturb me if I 
were you," said Philip. "I'm con- 
vinced that her husband and yours 
went out on the same boat." 

"What boat?" she asked innocently. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



257 



"The Flying Dutchman." 

Mildred was safely delivered of a 
daughter, and when Philip was al- 
lowed to see her the child was lying 
by her side. Mildred was very weak, 
but relieved that everything was over. 
She showed him the baby, and her- 
self looked at it curiously. 

"It's a funny-looking little thing, 
isn't it? I can't believe it's mine." 

It was red and wrinkled and odd. 
Philip smiled when he looked at it. 
He did not quite know what to say; 
and it embarrassed him because the 
nurse who owned the house was stand- 
ing by his side; and he felt by the 
way she was looking at him that, dis- 
believing Mildred's complicated story, 
she thought he was the father. 

"What are you going to call her?" 



asked Philip. 

"I can't make up my mind if I shall 
call her Madeleine or Cecilia." 

The nurse left them alone for a 
few minutes, and Philip bent down 
and kissed Mildred on the mouth. 

"I'm so glad it's all over happily, 
darling." 

She put her thin arms round his 
neck. 

"You have been a brick to me, Phil 
dear." 

"Now I feel that you're mine at 
last. I've waited so long for you, my 
dear." 

They heard the nurse at the door, 
and Philip hurriedly got up. The 
nurse entered. There was a slight smile 
on her lips. 



LXXIII 



Three weeks later Philip saw Mil- 
dred and her baby off to Brighton. 
She had made a quick recovery and 
looked better than he had ever seen 
her. She was going to a boarding- 
house where she had spent a couple 
of week-ends with Emil Miller, and 
had written to say that her husband 
was obliged to go to Germany on busi- 
ness and she was coming down with 
her baby. She got pleasure out of the 
stories she invented, and she showed 
a certain fertility of invention in the 
working out of the details. Mildred 
proposed to find in Brighton some 
woman who would be willing to take 
charge of the baby. Philip was startled 
at the callousness with which she in- 
sisted on getting rid of it so soon, 
but she argued with common sense 
that the poor child had much better 
be put somewhere before it grew used 
to her. Philip had expected the ma- 



ternal instinct to make itself felt when 
she had had the baby two or three 
weeks and had counted on this to 
help him persuade her to keep it; but 
nothing of the sort occurred. Mildred 
was not unkind to her baby; she did 
all that was necessary; it amused her 
sometimes, and she talked about it a 
good deal; but at heart she was in- 
different to it. She could not look 
upon it as part of herself. She fancied 
it resembled its father already. She 
was continually wondering how she 
would manage when it grew older; 
and she was exasperated with herself 
for being such a fool as to have it at 
all. 

"If I'd only known then all I do 
now," she said. 

She laughed at Philip, because he 
was anxious about its welfare. 

"You couldn't make more fuss if 
you was the father," she said. "I'd like 



258 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



to see Emil getting into such a stew 
about it." 

Philip's mind was full of the stories 
he had heard of baby-farming and the 
ghouls who ill-treat the wretched chil- 
dren that selfish, cruel parents have 
put in their charge. 

"Don't be so silly," said Mil- 
dred. "That's when you give a woman 
a sum down to look after a baby. But 
when you're going to pay so much a 
week it's to their interest to look after 
it well." 

Philip insisted that Mildred should 
place the child with people who had 
no children of their own and would 
promise to take no other. 

"Don't haggle about the price," he 
said. "I'd rather pay half a guinea a 
week than run any risk of the kid 
being starved or beaten." 

"You're a funny old thing, Philip," 
she laughed. 

To him there was something very 
touching in the child's helplessness. 
It was small, ugly, and querulous. Its 
birth had been looked forward to with 
shame and anguish. Nobody wanted 
it. It was dependent on him, a 
stranger, for food, shelter, and clothes 
to cover its nakedness. 

As the train started he kissed Mil- 
dred. He would have kissed the baby 
too, but he was afraid she would 
laugh at him. 

"You will write to me, darling, 
won't your" And I shall look forward 
to your coming back with oh! such 
impatience." 

"Mind you get through your exam." 

He had been working for it in- 
dustriously, and now with only ten 
days before him he made a final effort. 
He was very anxious to pass, first to 
save himself time and expense, for 
money had been slipping through his 
fingers during the last four months 
with incredible speed; and then be- 
cause this examination marked the 



end of the drudgery: after that the 
student had to do with medicine, mid- 
wifery, and surgery, the interest of 
which was more vivid than the anat- 
omy and physiology with which he 
had been hitherto concerned. Philip 
looked forward with interest to the 
rest of the curriculum. Nor did he 
want to have to confess to Mildred 
that he had failed: though the ex- 
amination was difficult and the ma- 
jority of candidates were ploughed at 
the first attempt, he knew that she 
would think less well of him if he 
did not succeed; she had a peculiarly 
humiliating way of showing what she 
thought. 

Mildred sent him a postcard to an- 
nounce her safe arrival, and he 
snatched half an hour every day to 
write a long letter to her. He had 
always a certain shyness in expressing 
himself by word of mouth, but he 
found he could tell her, pen in hand, 
all sorts of things which it would have 
made him feel ridiculous to say. Profit- 
ing by the discovery he poured out to 
her his whole heart. He had never 
been able to tell her before how his 
adoration filled every part of him so 
that all his actions, all his thoughts, 
were touched with it. He wrote to 
her of the future, the happiness that 
lay before him, and the gratitude 
which he owed her. He asked himself 
(he had often asked himself before 
but had never put it into words) what 
it was in her that filled him with such 
extravagant delight; he did not know; 
he knew only that when she was with 
him he was happy, and when she was 
away from him the world was on a 
sudden cold and gray; he knew only 
that when he thought of her his heart 
seemed to grow big in his body so 
that it was difficult to breathe (as if 
it pressed against his lungs) and it 
throbbed, so that the delight of her 
presence was almost pain; his knees 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



259 



shook, and he felt strangely weak as 
though, not having eaten, he were 
tremulous from want of food. He 
looked forward eagerly to her answers. 
He did not expect her to write often, 
for he knew that letter-writing came 
difl&cultly to her; and he was quite con- 
tent with the clumsy little note that 
arrived in reply to four of his. She 
spoke of the boarding-house in which 
she had taken a room, of the weather 
and the baby, told him she had been 
for a walk on the front with a lady- 
friend whom she had met in the board- 
ing-house and who had taken such a 
fancy to baby, she was going to the 
threatre on Saturday night, and 
Brighton was filling up. It touched 
Philip because it was so matter-of-fact. 
The crabbed style, the formality of 
the matter, gave him a queer desire to 
laugh and to take her in his arms 
and kiss her. 

He went into the examination with 
happy confidence. There was nothing 
in either of the papers that gave him 
trouble. He knew that he had done 
well, and though the second part of 
the examination was viva voce and he 
was more nervous, he managed to an- 
swer the questions adequately. He 
sent a triumphant telegram to Mil- 
dred when the result was announced. 

WTien he got back to his rooms 
Philip found a letter from her, saying 
that she thought it would be better 
for her to stay another week 
in Brighton. She had found a woman 
who would be glad to take the baby 
for seven shillings a week, but she 
wanted to make inquiries about her, 
and she was herself benefiting 
so much by the sea-air that she was 
sure a few days more would do her 
no end of good. She hated asking 
Philip for money, but would he send 
some by return, as she had had to 
buy herself a new hat, she couldn't 
go about with her lady-friend always 



in the same hat, and her lady-friend 
was so dressy. Philip had a moment 
of bitter disappointment. It took away 
all his pleasure at getting through his 
examination. 

"If she loved me one quarter as 
much as I love her she couldn't bear 
to stay away a day longer than nec- 
essary." 

He put the thought away from him 
quickly; it was pure selfishness; of 
course her health was more important 
than anything else. But he had 
nothing to do now; he might spend 
the week with her in Brighton, and 
they could be together all day. His 
heart leaped at the thought. It would 
be amusing to appear before Mildred 
suddenly with the information that he 
had taken a room in the boarding- 
house. He looked out trains. But he 
paused. He was not certain that she 
would be pleased to see him; she had 
made friends in Brighton; he was 
quiet, and she liked boisterous jovial- 
ity; he realised that she amused her- 
self more with other people than with 
him. It would torture him if he felt 
for an instant that he was in the way. 
He was afraid to risk it. He dared 
not even write and suggest that, with 
nothing to keep him in town, he 
would like to spend the week where 
he could see her every day. She knew 
he had nothing to do; if she wanted 
him to come she would have asked 
him to. He dared not risk the anguish 
he would suffer if he proposed to 
come and she made excuses to prevent 
him. 

He wrote to her next day, sent her a 
five-pound note, and at the end of 
his letter said that if she were very 
nice and cared to see him for the 
week-end he would be glad to run 
down; but she was by no means to 
alter any plans she had made. He 
awaited her answer with impa- 
tience. In it she said that if she had 



26o 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



only known before she could have 
arranged it, but she had promised to 
go to a music-hall on the Saturday 
night; besides, it would make the 
people at the boarding-house talk if 
he stayed there. Why did he not 
come on Sunday morning and spend 
the day? They could lunch at the 
Metropole, and she would take him 
afterwards to see the very superior 
lady-like person who was going to take 
the baby. 

Sunday, He blessed the day be- 
cause it was fine. As the train 
approached Brighton the sun poured 
through the carriage window. Mildred 
was waiting for him on the platfonn. 

"How jolly of you to come and 
meet me!" he cried, as he seized her 
hands. 

"You expected me, didn't you?" 

"I hoped you would. I say, how 
well you're looking." 

*lt*s done me a rare lot of good, 
but I think Tm wise to stay here as 
long as I can. And there are a very 
nice class of people at the boarding- 
house. I wanted cheering up after see- 
ing nobody all these months. It was 
dull sometimes." 

She looked very smart in her new 
hat, a large black straw with a great 
many inexpensive flowers on it; and 
round her neck floated a long boa of 
imitation swansdown. She was still 
very thin, and she stooped a little 
when she walked, (she had always 
done that,) but her eyes did not seem 
so large; and though she never had 
any colour, her skin had lost the 
earthy look it had. They walked down 
to the sea. Philip, remembering he 
had not walked with her for months, 
grew suddenly conscious of his limp 
and walked stiffly in the attempt to 
conceal it. 

"Are you glad to see me?" he asked, 
love dancing madly in his heart. 



"Of course I am. You needn't ask 
that." 

"By the way, Griffiths sends you 
his love." 

"What cheek!" 

He had talked to her a great deal of 
Griffiths. He had told her how flirta- 
tious he was and had amused her often 
with the narration of some adventure 
which Griffiths under the seal of 
secrecy had imparted to him. Mildred 
had listened, with some pretence of 
disgust sometimes, but generally with 
curiosity; and Philip, admiringly, had 
enlarged upon his friend's good looks 
and charm. 

"I'm sure you'll like him just as 
much as I do. He's so jolly and amus- 
ing, and he's such an awfully good 
sort." 

Philip told her how, when they 
were perfect strangers, Griffiths had 
nursed him through an illness; and in 
the telling Griffiths' self-sacrifice lost 
nothing. 

"You can't help liking him," said 
Philip. 

"I don't Hke good-looking men," 
said Mildred. "They're too conceited 
for me." 

"He wants to loiow you. I've talked 
to him about you an awful lot." 

"What have you said?" asked Mil- 
dred. 

Philip had no one but Griffiths to 
talk to of his love for Mildred, and 
little by little had told him the whole 
story of his connection with her. He 
described her to him fifty times. He 
dwelt amorously on every detail of 
her appearance, and Griffiths knew ex- 
actly how her thin hands were shaped 
and how white her face was, and he 
laughed at Philip when he talked of 
the charm of her pale, thin lips. 

"By Jove, I'm glad I don't take 
things so badly as that," he said. "Life 
wouldn't be worth living." 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



261 



Philip smiled. Griffiths did not 
know the delight of being so madly 
in love that it was like meat and wine 
and the air one breathed and whatever 
else was essential to existence. Griffiths 
knew that Philip had looked after the 
girl while she was having her baby 
and was now going away with her, 

"Well, I must say you've deserved 
to get something," he remarked. "It 
must have cost you a pretty penny. 
It's lucky you can afford it." 

"I can't," said Philip. "But what do 
I care!" 

Since it was early for luncheon, 
Philip and Mildred sat in one of the 
shelters on the parade, sunning them- 
selves, and watched the people pass. 
There were the Brighton shop-boys 
who walked in twos and threes, swing- 
ing their canes, and there were the 
Brighton shop-girls who tripped along 
in giggling bunches. They could tell 
the people who had come down from 
London for the day; the keen air gave 
a fillip to their weariness. There were 
many Jews, stout ladies in tight satin 
dresses and diamonds, little corpulent 
men with a gesticulative manner. 
There were middle-aged gentlemen 
spending a week-end in one of the 
large hotels, carefully dressed; and 
they walked industriously after too 
substantial a breakfast to give them- 
selves an appetite for too substantial a 
luncheon: they exchanged the time 
of day with friends and talked of Dr. 
Brighton or London-by-the-Sea. Here 
and there a well-known actor passed, 
elaborately unconscious of the atten- 
tion he excited: sometimes he wore 
patent leather boots, a coat with an 
astrakhan collar, and carried a silver- 
knobbed stick; and sometimes, looking 
as though he had come from a day's 
shooting, he strolled in knickerbockers, 
and ulster of Harris tweed, and a 
tweed hat on the back of his head. 



The sun shone on the blue sea, and 
the blue sea was trim and neat. 

After luncheon they went to Hove 
to see the woman who was to take 
charge of the baby. She lived in a 
small house in a back street, but it 
was clean and tidy. Her name was 
Mrs. Harding. She was an elderly, 
stout person, with gray hair and a red, 
fleshy face. She looked motherly in 
her cap, and Philip thought she 
seemed kind. 

"Won't you find it an awful nui- 
sance to look after a baby?" he asked 
her. 

She explained that her husband was 
a curate, a good deal older than her- 
self, who had difficulty in getting per- 
manent work since vicars wanted 
young men to assist them; he earned 
a little now and then by doing locums 
when someone took a holiday or fell 
ill, and a charitable institution gave 
them a small pension; but her life was 
lonely, it would be something to do 
to look after a child, and the few shil- 
lings a week paid for it would help 
her to keep things going. She prom- 
ised that it should be well fed. 

"Quite the lady, isn't she?" said Mil- 
dred, when they went away. 

They went back to have tea at the 
Metropole. Mildred liked the crowd 
and the band. Philip was tired of 
talking, and he watched her face as 
she looked with keen eyes at the 
dresses of the women who came in. 
She had a peculiar sharpness for reck- 
oning up what things cost, and now 
and then she leaned over to him and 
whispered the result of her medita- 
tions. 

"D'you see that aigrette there? That 
cost every bit of seven guineas." 

Or: "Look at that ermine, Philip. 
That's rabbit, that is— that's not er- 
mine." She laughed triumphantly. 
"I'd know it a mile off." 



262 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Philip smiled happily. He was glad 
to see her pleasure, and the ingen- 
uousness of her conversation amused 
and touched him. The band played 
sentimental music. 

After dinner they walked down to 
the station, and Philip took her arm. 
He told her what arrangements he 
had made for their journey to France. 
She was to come up to London at 
the end of the week, but she told him 
that she could not go away till the 
Saturday of the week after that. He 
had already engaged a room in a 
hotel in Paris. He was looking forward 
eagerly to taking the tickets. 

"You won't mind going second-class, 
will you? We mustn't be extravagant, 
and it'll be all the better if we can 
do ourselves pretty well when we 
get there." 

He had talked to her a hundred 
times of the Quarter. They would 
wander through its pleasant old streets, 
and they would sit idly in the charm- 
ing gardens of the Luxembourg. If the 
weather was fine perhaps, when they 



had had enough of Paris, they might 
go to Fontainebleau. The trees would 
be just bursting into leaf. The green 
of the forest in spring was more beau- 
tiful than anything he knew; it was 
like a song, and it was like the happy 
pain of love. Mildred listened quietly. 
He turned to her and tried to look 
deep into her eyes. 

"You do want to come, don't you?" 
he said. 

"Of course I do," she smiled. 

"You don't know how I'm looking 
forward to it. I don't know how I shall 
get through the next days. I'm so 
afraid something will happen to pre- 
vent it. It maddens me sometimes that 
I can't tell you how much I love you. 
And at last, at last . . ." 

He broke off. They reached the 
station, but they had dawdled on the 
way, and Philip had barely time to 
say good-night. He kissed her quickly 
and ran towards the wicket as fast 
as he could. She stood where he left 
her. He was strangely grotesque when 
he ran. 



LXXIV 



The following Saturday Mildred re- 
turned, and that evening Philip kept 
her to himself. He took seats for the 
play, and they drank champagne at 
dinner. It was her first gaiety in Lon- 
don for so long that she enjoyed ev- 
erything ingenuously. She cuddled up 
to Philip when they drove from the 
theatre to the room he had taken for 
her in Pimlico. 

"I really believe you're quite glad 
to see me," he said. 

She did not answer, but gently 
pressed his hand. Demonstrations of 
affection were so rare with her that 
Philip was enchanted. 



"I've asked Griffiths to dine with us 
tomorrow," he told her. 

"Oh, I'm glad you've done that. I 
wanted to meet him." 

There was no place of entertain- 
ment to take her to on Sunday night, 
and Philip was afraid she would be 
bored if she were alone with him all 
day. Griffiths was amusing; he would 
help them to get through the evening; 
and Philip was so fond of them both 
that he wanted them to know and to 
like one another. He left Mildred with 
the words: 

"Only six days more." 

They had arranged to dine in the 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



gallery at Romano's on Sunday, be- 
cause the dinner was excellent and 
looked as though it cost a good deal 
more than it did. Philip and Mildred 
arrived first and had to wait some time 
for Griffiths. 

"He's an unpunctual devil," said 
Philip. "He's probably making love to 
one of his numerous flames." 

But presently he appeared. He was 
a handsome creature, tall and thin; his 
head was placed well on the body, it 
gave him a conquering air which was 
attractive; and his curly hair, his bold, 
friendly blue eyes, his red mouth, were 
charming. Philip saw Mildred look at 
him with appreciation, and he felt a 
curious satisfaction. Grifl&ths greeted 
them with a smile. 

"I've heard a great deal about you," 
he said to Mildred, as he took her 
hand. 

"Not so much as I've heard about 
you," she answered. 

"Nor so bad," said Philip. 

"Has he been blackening my char- 
acter?" 

Griffiths laughed, and Philip saw 
that Mildred noticed how white and 
regular his teeth were and how pleas- 
ant his smile. 

"You ought to feel like old friends," 
said Philip. "I've talked so much about 
you to one another." 

Griffiths was in the best possible 
humour, for, having at length passed 
his final examination, he was qualified, 
and he had just been appointed house- 
surgeon at a hospital in the North of 
London. He was taking up his duties 
at the beginning of May and mean- 
while was going home for a holiday; 
this was his last week in town, and he 
was determined to get as much en- 
joyment into it as he could. He began 
to talk the gay nonsense which Philip 
admired because he could not copy it. 
There was nothing much in what he 
said, but his vivacity gave it point. 



263 

There flowed from him a force of life 
which aff^ected everyone who knew 
him; it was almost as sensible as bodily 
warmth. Mildred was more lively than 
Philip had ever known her, and he 
was delighted to see that his little party 
was a success. She was amusing herself 
enormously. She laughed louder and 
louder. She quite forgot the genteel 
reserve which had become second na- 
ture to her. 

Presently Griffiths said: 

"I say, it's dreadfully difficult for 
me to call you Mrs. Miller. Philip 
never calls you anything but Mildred." 

"I daresay she won't scratch your 
eyes out if you call her that too," 
laughed Philip. 

"Then she must call me Harry." 

Philip sat silent while they chat- 
tered away and thought how good it 
was to see people happy. Now and 
then Griffiths teased him a little, 
kindly, because he was always so se- 
rious. 

"I believe he's quite fond of you, 
Philip," smiled Mildred. 

"He isn't a bad old thing," answered 
Griffiths, and taking Philip's hand he 
shook it gaily. 

It seemed an added charm in 
Griffiths that he liked Philip. They 
were all sober people, and the wine 
they had drunk went to their heads. 
Griffiths became more talkative and so 
boisterous that Philip, amused, had to 
beg him to be quiet. He had a gift 
for story-telling, and his adventures 
lost nothing of their romance and 
their laughter in his narration. He 
played in all of them a gallant, hu- 
morous part. Mildred, her eyes shin- 
ing with excitement, urged him on. 
He poured out anecdote after anec- 
dote. When the lights began to be 
turned out she was astonished. 

"My word, the evening has gone 
quickly. I thought it wasn't more than 
half past nine." 



264 

They got up to go and when she 
said good-bye, she added: 

"Vm coming to have tea at Phihp's 
room tomorrow. You might look in 
if you can." 

"All right," he smiled. 

On the way back to Pimlico Mil- 
dred talked of nothing but Griffiths. 
She was taken with his good looks, 
his well-cut clothes, his voice, his 
gaiety. 

"I am glad you like him," said 
Philip. "Dyou remember you were 
rather sniffy about meeting him>" 

"I think it's so nice of him to be 
so fond of you, Philip. He is a nice 
friend for you to have." 

She put up her face to Philip for 
him to kiss her. It was a thing she did 
rarely. 

"I have enjoyed myself this eve- 
ning, Philip. Thank you so much." 

"Don't be so absurd," he laughed, 
touched by her appreciation so that 
he felt the moisture come to his eyes. 

She opened her door and just be- 
fore she went in, turned again to 
Philip. 

"Tell Harry I'm madly in love with 
him," she said. 

"All right," he laughed. "Good- 
night." 

Next day, when they were having 
tea, Griffiths came in. He sank lazily 
into an arm-chair. There was some- 
thing strangely sensual in the slow 
movements of his large limbs. Philip 
remained silent, while the others chat- 
tered away, but he was enjoying him- 
self. He admired them both so much 
that it seemed natural enough for 
them to admire one another. He did 
not care if Griffiths absorbed Mildred's 
attention, he would have her to him- 
self during the evening: he had some- 
thing the attitude of a loving husband, 
confident in his wife's affection, who 
looks on with amusement while she 
flirts harmlessly with a stranger. But 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



at half past seven he looked at his 
watch and said: 

"It's about time we went out to din- 
ner, Mildred." 

There was a moment's pause, and 
Griffiths seemed to be considering. 

"Well, I'll be getting along," he 
said at last. "I didn't know it was so 
late." 

"Are you doing anything tonight?" 
asked Mildred. 

"No." 

There was another silence. Philip 
felt slightly irritated. 

"I'll just go and have a wash," he 
said, and to Mildred he added: 
"Would you like to wash your handsi^"" 

She did not answer him. 

"Why don't you come and dine 
with us?" she said to Griffiths. 

He looked at Philip and saw him 
staring at him sombrely. 

"I dined with you last night," he 
laughed. "I should be in the way." 

"Oh, that doesn't matter," insisted 
Mildred. "Make him come, Philip. He 
won't be in the way, will he?" 

"Let him come by all means if 
he'd like to." 

"All right, then," said Griffiths 
promptly. "I'll just go upstairs and 
tidy myself." 

The moment he left the room 
Philip turned to Mildred angrily. 

"Why on earth did you ask him 
to dine with us?" 

"I couldn't help myself. It would 
have looked so funny to say nothing 
when he said he wasn't doing any- 
thing." 

"Oh, what rot! And why the hell 
did you ask him if he was doing any- 
thing?" 

Mildred's pale lips tightened a lit- 
tle. 

"I want a little amusement some- 
times. I get tired always being alone 
with you." 

They heard Griffiths coming heavily 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



265 



down the stairs, and Philip went into 
his bed-room to wash. They dined in 
the neighbourhood in an Itahan res- 
taurant. Phihp was cross and silent, 
but he quickly realised that he was 
showing to disadvantage in compar- 
ison with Griffiths, and he forced him- 
self to hide his annoyance. He drank 
a good deal of wine to destroy the 
pain that was gnawing at his heart, 
and he set himself to talk. Mildred, as 
though remorseful for what she had 
said, did all she could to make herself 
pleasant to him. She was kindly and 
affectionate. Presently Philip began to 
think he had been a fool to surrender 
to a feeling of jealousy. After dinner 
when they got into a hansom to drive 
to a music-hall Mildred, sitting be- 
tween the two men, of her own ac- 
cord gave him her hand. His anger 
vanished. Suddenly, he knew not 
how, he grew conscious that Griffiths 
was holding her other hand. The 
pain seized him again violently, it was 
a real physical pain, and he asked 
himself, panic-stricken, what he might 
have asked himself before, whether 
Mildred and Griffiths were in love 
with one another. He could not see 
anything of the performance on ac- 
count of the mist of suspicion, anger, 
dismay, and wretchedness which 
seemed to be before his eyes; but he 
forced himself to conceal the fact that 
anything was the matter; he went on 
talking and laughing. Then a strange 
desire to torture himself seized him, 
and he got up, saying he wanted to 
go and drink something. Mildred and 
Griffiths had never been alone to- 
gether for a moment. He wanted to 
leave them by themselves. 

"I'll come too," said Griffiths. "I've 
got rather a thirst on." 

"Oh, nonsense, you stay and talk 
to Mildred." 

Philip did not know why he said 
that. He was throwing them together 



now to make the pain he suffered 
more intolerable. He did not go to the 
bar, but up into the balcony, from 
where he could watch them and not 
be seen. They had ceased to look at 
the stage and were smiling into one 
another's eyes. Griffiths was talking 
with his usual happy fluency and 
Mildred seemed to hang on his lips. 
Philip's head began to ache fright- 
fully. He stood there motionless. He 
knew he would be in the way if he 
went back. They were enjoying them- 
selves without him, and he was suf- 
fering, suffering. Time passed, and 
now he had an extraordinary shyness 
about rejoining them. He knew they 
had not thought of him at all, and 
he reflected bitterly that he had paid 
for the dinner and their seats in the 
music-hall. What a fool they were 
making of him! He was hot with 
shame. He could see how happy they 
were without him. His instinct was 
to leave them to themselves and go 
home, but he had not his hat and coat, 
and it would necessitate endless ex- 
planations. He went back. He felt a 
shadow of annoyance in Mildred's 
eyes when she saw him, and his heart 
sank. 

"You've been a devil of a time," 
said Griffiths, with a smile of wel- 
come. 

"I met some men I knew. I've been 
talking to them, and I couldn't get 
away. I thought you'd be all right 
together." 

"I've been enjoying myself thor- 
oughly," said Griffiths. "I don't know 
about Mildred." 

She gave a little laugh of happy 
complacency. There was a vulgar 
sound in the ring of it that horrified 
Philip. He suggested that they should 

go- 

"Come on," said Griffiths, "we'll 
both drive you home." 

Philip suspected that she had sug- 



I 



266 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



gested that arrangement so that she 
might not be left alone with him. 
In the cab he did not take her hand 
nor did she offer it, and he knew all 
the time that she was holding 
Griffiths'. His chief thought was that 
it was all so horribly vulgar. As they 
drove along he asked himself what 
plans they had made to meet without 
his knowledge, he cursed himself for 
having left them alone, he had actu- 
ally gone out of his way to enable 
them to arrange things. 

"Let's keep the cab," said Philip, 
when they reached the house in which 
Mildred was lodging. "Fm too tired 
to walk home." 

On the way back Griffiths talked 
gaily and seemed indifferent to the 
fact that Philip answered in mono- 
syllables. Philip felt he must notice 
that something was the matter. Philip's 
silence at last grew too significant to 
struggle against, and Griffiths, sud- 
denly nervous, ceased talking. Philip 
wanted to say something, but he was 
so shy he could hardly bring himself 
to, and yet the time was passing and 
the opportunity would be lost. It was 
best to get at the truth at once. He 
forced himself to speak. 

"Are you in love with Mildred?" he 



asked suddenly. 

"D" Griffiths laughed. "Is that what 
you've been so funny about this eve- 
ning? Of course not, my dear old 
man." 

He tried to slip his hand through 
Philip's arm, but Philip drew him- 
self away. He knew Griffiths was ly- 
ing. He could not bring himself to 
force Griffiths to tell him that he had 
not been holding the girl's hand. He 
suddenly felt very weak and broken. 

"It doesn't matter to you, Harry," 
he said. "You've got so many women 
—don't take her away from me. It 
means my whole life. I've been so 
awfully wretched." 

His voice broke, and he could not 
prevent the sob that was torn from 
him. He was horribly ashamed of 
himself. 

"My dear old boy, you know I 
wouldn't do anything to hurt you. I'm 
far too fond of you for that. I was 
only playing the fool. If I'd known 
you were going to take it like that I'd 
have been more careful." 

"Is that true?" asked Philip. 

"I don't care a twopenny damn for 
her. I give you my word of honour." 

Philip gave a sigh of relief. The 
cab stopped at their door. 



LXXV 



Next day Philip was in a good 
temper. He was very anxious not to 
bore Mildred with too much of his 
society, and so had arranged that he 
should not see her till dinner-time. 
She was ready when he fetched her, 
and he chaffed her for her unwonted 
punctuality. She was wearing a new 
dress he had given her. He remarked 
on its smartness. 

"It'll have to go back and be al- 



tered," she said. "The skirt hangs all 
wrong." 

"You'll have to make the dressmaker 
hurry up if you want to take it to 
Paris with you." 

"It'll be ready in time for that." 

"Only three more whole days. We'll 
go over by the eleven o'clock, shall 
we?" 

"If you Hke." 

He would have her for nearly a 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



month entirely to himself. His eyes 
rested on her with hungry adoration. 
He was able to laugh a little at his 
own passion. 

"I wonder what it is I see in you," 
he smiled. 

"That's a nice thing to say," she an- 
swered. 

Her body was so thin that one could 
almost see her skeleton. Her chest was 
as flat as a boy's. Her mouth, with its 
narrow pale lips, was ugly, and her 
skin was faintly green. 

"I shall give you Blaud's Pills in 
quantities when we're away," said 
Philip, laughing. "I'm going to bring 
you back fat and rosy." 

"I don't want to get fat," she said. 

She did not speak of Griffiths, and 
presently while they were dining 
Philip half in malice, for he felt sure 
of himself and his power over her, 
said: 

"It seems to me you were having a 
great flirtation with Harry last night?" 

"I told you I was in love with 
him," she laughed. 

"I'm glad to know that he's not in 
love with you." 

"How d'you know?" 

"I asked him." 

She hesitated a moment, looking at 
Philip, and a curious gleam came into 
her eyes. 

"Would you hke to read a letter 
I had from him this morning?" 

She handed him an envelope and 
Philip recognised Griffiths' bold, legi- 
ble writing. There were eight pages. 
It was well written, frank and charm- 
ing; it was the letter of a man who 
was used to making love to women. 
He told Mildred that he loved her 
passionately, he had fallen in love 
with her the first moment he saw her; 
he did not want to love her, for he 
knew how fond Philip was of her, 
but he could not help himself. Philip 
was such a dear, and he was very 



267 

much ashamed of himself, but it was 
not his fault, he was just carried away. 
He paid her delightful compliments. 
Finally he thanked her for consenting 
to lunch with him next day and said 
he was dreadfully impatient to see 
her. Philip noticed that the letter was 
dated the night before; Griffiths must 
have written it after leaving Philip, 
and had taken the trouble to go out 
and post it when Philip thought he 
was in bed. 

He read it with a sickening palpita- 
tion of his heart, but gave no outward 
sign of surprise. He handed it back 
to Mildred with a smile, calmly. 

"Did you enjoy your lunch?" 

"Rather," she said emphatically. 

He felt that his hands were trem- 
bling, so he put them under the table. 

"You mustn't take Griffiths too se- 
riously. He's just a butterfly, you 
know." 

She took the letter and looked at it 
again. 

"I can't help it either," she said, 
in a voice which she tried to make 
nonchalant. "I don't know what's 
come over me." 

"It's a little awkward for me, isn't 
it?" said Philip. 

She gave him a quick look. 

"You're taking it pretty calmly, I 
must say." 

"What do you expect me to do? 
Do you want me to tear out my hair 
in handfuls?" 

"I knew you'd be angry with me." 

"The funny thing is, I'm not at all. 
I ought to have known this would 
happen. I was a fool to bring you 
together. I know perfectly well that 
he's got every advantage over me; he's 
much jollier, and he's very handsome, 
he's more amusing, he can talk to you 
about the things that interest you." 

"I don't know what you mean by 
that. If I'm not clever I can't help 
it, but I'm not the fool you think I 



268 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



am, not by a long way, I can tell you. 
You're a bit too superior for me, my 
young friend." 

"D'you want to quarrel with me?" 
he asked mildly. 

"No, but I don't see why you 
should treat me as if I was I don't 
know what." 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend 
you. I just wanted to talk things over 
quietly. We don't want to make a 
mess of them if we can help it. I saw 
you were attracted by him and it 
seemed to me very natural. The only 
thing that really hurts me is that he 
should have encouraged you. He knew 
how awfully keen I was on you. I 
think it's rather shabby of him to have 
written that letter to you five minutes 
after he told me he didn't care two- 
pence about you." 

"If you think you're going to make 
me like him any the less by saying 
nasty things about him, you're mis- 
taken." 

Philip was silent for a moment. He 
did not know what words he could 
use to make her see his point of view. 
He wanted to speak coolly and de- 
liberately, but he was in such a tur- 
moil of emotion that he could not 
clear his thoughts. 

"It's not worth while sacrificing ev- 
erything for an infatuation that you 
know can't last. After all, he doesn't 
care for anyone more than ten days, 
and you're rather cold; that sort of 
thing doesn't mean very much to you." 

"That's what you think." 

She made it more difficult for him 
by adopting a cantankerous tone. 

"If you're in love with him you 
can't help it. I'll just bear it as best 
I can. We get on very well together, 
you and I, and I've not behaved 
badly to you, have I? I've always 
known that you're not in love with 
me, but you like me all right, and 
when we get over to Paris you'll for- 



get about Griffiths. If you make up 
your mind to put him out of your 
thoughts you won't find it so hard as 
all that, and I've deserved that you 
should do something for me." 

She did not answer, and they went 
on eating their dinner. When the si- 
lence grew oppressive Philip began to 
talk of indifferent things. He pre- 
tended not to notice that Mildred was 
inattentive. Her answers were perfunc- 
tory, and she volunteered no remarks 
of her own. At last she interrupted 
abruptly what he was saying: 

"Philip, I'm afraid I shan't be able 
to go away on Saturday. The doctor 
says I oughtn't to." 

He knew this was not true, but he 
answered: 

"When will you be able to come 
away?" 

She glanced at him, saw that his 
face was white and rigid, and looked 
nervously away. She was at that mo- 
ment a little afraid of him. 

"I may as well tell you and have 
done with it, I can't come away with 
you at all." 

"I thought you were driving at that. 
It's too late to change your mind now. 
I've got the tickets and everything." 

"You said you didn't wish me to go 
unless I wanted it too, and I don't." 

"I've changed my mind. I'm not 
going to have any more tricks played 
with me. You must come." 

"I like you very much, Philip, as a 
friend. But I can't bear to think of 
anything else. I don't like you that 
way. I couldn't, Philip." 

"You were quite willing to a week 
ago." 

"It was different then." 

"You hadn't met Griffiths?" 

"You said yourself I couldn't help 
it if I'm in love with him." 

Her face was set into a sulky look, 
and she kept her eyes fixed on her 
plate. Philip was white with rage. He 



I 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



269 



would have liked to hit her in the face 
with his clenched fist, and in fancy he 
saw how she would look with a black 
eye. There were two lads of eighteen 
dining at a table near them, and now 
and then they looked at Mildred; he 
wondered if they envied him dining 
with a pretty girl; perhaps they were 
wishing they stood in his shoes. It was 
Mildred who broke the silence. 

"What's the good of our going away 
togetherr" I'd be thinking of him all 
the time. It wouldn't be much fun 
for you." 

"That's my business," he answered. 

She thought over all his reply im- 
plicated, and she reddened. 

"But that's just beastly." 

"What of it?" 

"I thought you were a gentleman 
in every sense of the word." 

"You were mistaken." 

His reply entertained him, and he 
laughed as he said it. 

"For God's sake don't laugh," she 
cried. "I can't come away with you, 
Philip. I'm awfully sorry. I know I 
haven't behaved well to you, but one 
can't force themselves." 

"Have you forgotten that when you 
were in trouble I did everything for 
you? I planked out the money to keep 
you till your baby was bom, I paid 
for your doctor and everything, I paid 
for you to go to Brighton, and I'm 
paying for the keep of your baby, I'm 
paying for your clothes, I'm paying for 
every stitch you've got on now." 

"If you was a gentleman you 
wouldn't throw what you've done for 
me in my face." 

"Oh, for goodness' sake, shut up. 
What d'you suppose I care if I'm a 
gentleman or not? If I were a gentle- 
man I shouldn't waste my time with a 
vulgar slut like you. I don't care a 
damn if you Hke me or not. I'm sick 
of being made a blasted fool of. 
You're jolly well coming to Paris with 



me on Saturday or you can take the 
consequences." 

Her cheeks were red with anger, 
and when she answered her voice had 
the hard commonness which she con- 
cealed generally by a genteel enuncia- 
tion. 

"I never liked you, not from the 
beginning, but you forced yourself 
on me, I always hated it when you 
kissed me. I wouldn't let you touch 
me now not if I was starving." 

Philip tried to swallow the food on 
his plate, but the muscles of his throat 
refused to act. He gulped down some- 
thing to drink and lit a cigarette. He 
was trembhng in every part. He did 
not speak. He waited for her to move, 
but she sat in silence, staring at the 
white tablecloth. If they had been 
alone he v»7ould have flung his arms 
round her and kissed her passionately; 
he fancied the throwing back of her 
long white throat as he pressed upon 
her mouth with his lips. They passed 
an hour without speaking, and at last 
Philip thought the waiter began to 
stare at them curiously. He called for 
the bill. 

"Shall we go?" he said then, in an 
even tone. 

She did not reply, but gathered to- 
gether her bag and her gloves. She 
put on her coat. 

"When are you seeing Griffiths 
again?" 

"Tomorrow," she answered in- 
diflFerently. 

"You'd better talk it over with him." 

She opened her bag mechanically 
and saw a piece of paper in it. She 
took it out. 

"Here's the bill for this dress," she 
said hesitatingly. 

"What of it?" 

"I promised I'd give her the money 
tomorrow." 

"Did you?" 

"Does that mean you won't pay for 



270 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



it after having told me I could get it?" 

"It does." 

"ril ask Harry," she said, flushing 
quickly. 

"He'll be glad to help you. He owes 
me seven pounds at the moment, and 
he pawned his microscope last week, 
because he was so broke." 

"You needn't think you can 
frighten me by that. Fm quite capable 
of earning my own living." 

"It's the best thing you can do. I 
don't propose to give you a farthing 
more." 

She thought of her rent due on 
Saturday and the baby's keep, but did 
not say anything. They left the res- 
taurant, and in the street Philip asked 



her: 

"Shall I call a cab for you? I'm 
going to take a little stroll." 

"I haven't got any money. I had to 
pay a bill this afternoon." 

"It won't hurt you to walk. If you 
want to see me tomorrow I shall be in J 
about tea-time." ' 

He took off his hat and sauntered 
away. He looked round in a moment 
and saw that she was standing help- ] 
lessly where he had left her, looking 
at the traffic. He went back and with 
a laugh pressed a coin into her hand. 

"Here's two bob for you to get 
home with." 

Before she could speak he hurried 
away. 



LXXVI 



Next day, in the afternoon, Philip 
sat in his room and wondered whether 
Mildred would come. He had slept 
badly. He had spent the morning in 
the club of the Medical School, read- 
ing one newspaper after another. It 
was the vacation and few students he 
knew were in London, but he found 
one or two people to talk to, he played 
a game of chess, and so wore out the 
tedious hours. After luncheon he felt 
so tired, his head was aching so, that 
he went back to his lodgings and lay 
down; he tried to read a novel. He 
had not seen Griffiths. He was not in 
when Philip returned the night be- 
fore; he heard him come back, but he 
did not as usual look into Philip's 
room to see if he was asleep; and in 
the morning Philip heard him go out 
early. It was clear that he wanted to 
avoid him. Suddenly there was a 
light tap at his door. Philip sprang to 
his feet and opened it. Mildred stood 
on the threshold. She did not move. 



"Come in," said Philip. 

He closed the door after her. She 
sat down. She hesitated to begin. 

"Thank you for giving me that 
two shillings last night," she said. 

"Oh, that's all right." 

She gave him a faint smile. It re- 
minded Philip of the timid, ingratiat- 
ing look of a puppy that has been 
beaten for naughtiness and wants to 
reconcile himself with his master, 

"I've been lunching with Harry," 
she said. 

"Have you?" 

"If you still want me to go away 
with you on Saturday, Philip, I'll 
come." 

A quick thrill of triumph shot 
through his heart, but it was a sensa- 
tion that only lasted an instant; it 
was followed by a suspicion. 

"Because of the money?" he asked. 

"Partly," she answered simply. 
"Harry can't do anything. He owes 
five weeks here, and he owes you 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



271 



seven pounds, and his tailor's pressing 
him for money. He'd pawn anything 
he could, but he's pawned every- 
thing already. I had a job to put the 
woman off about my new dress, and 
on Saturday there's the book at my 
lodgings, and I can't get work in five 
minutes. It always means waiting 
some little time till there's a vacancy." 

She said all this in an even, queru- 
lous tone, as though she were recount- 
ing the injustices of fate, which had 
to be borne as part of the natural order 
of things. Philip did not answer. He 
knew what she told him well enough. 

"You said partly," he observed at 
last. 

"Well, Harry says you've been a 
brick to both of us. You've been a 
real good friend to him, he says, and 
you've done for me what p'raps no 
other man would have done. We must 
do the straight thing, he says. And he 
said what you said about him, that 
he's fickle by nature, he's not like you, 
and I should be a fool to throw you 
away for him. He won't last and you 
will, he says so himself." 

"D'you want to come away with 
me?" asked Philip. 

"I don't mind." 

He looked at her, and the corners 
of his mouth turned down in an ex- 
pression of misery. He had triumphed 
indeed, and he was going to have his 
way. He gave a little laugh of derision 
at his own humiliation. She looked at 
him quickly, but did not speak. 

"I've looked forward with all my 
soul to going away with you, and I 
thought at last, after all that wretched- 
ness, I was going to be happy . . ." 

He did not finish what he was going 
to say. And then on a sudden, with- 
out warning, Mildred broke into a 
storm of tears. She was sitting in the 
chair in which Norah had sat and 
wept, and like her she hid her face 
on the back of it, towards the side 



where there was a little bump formed 
by the sagging in the middle, where 
the head had rested. 

"I'm not lucky with women," 
thought Philip. 

Her thin body was shaken with 
sobs. Philip had never seen a woman 
cry with such an utter abandonment. 
It was horribly painful, and his heart 
was torn. Without realising what he 
did, he went up to her and put his 
arms round her; she did not resist, but 
in her wretchedness surrendered her- 
self to his comforting. He whispered 
to her little words of solace. He 
scarcely knew what he was saying, he 
bent over her and kissed her repeat- 
edly. 

"Are you awfully unhappy?" he 
said at last. 

"I wish I was dead," she moaned. 
"I wish I'd died when the baby come." 

Her hat was in her way, and Philip 
took it off for her. He placed her head 
more comfortably in the chair, and 
then he went and sat down at the 
table and looked at her. 

"It is awful, love, isn't it?" he said. 
"Fancy anyone wanting to be in love." 

Presently the violence of her sob- 
bing diminished and she sat in the 
chair, exhausted, with her head 
thrown back and her arms hanging 
by her side. She had the grotesque 
look of one of those painters' dummies 
used to hang draperies on. 

"I didn't know you loved him so 
much as all that," said Philip. 

He understood Griffiths' love well 
enough, for he put himself in Griffiths' 
place and saw with his eyes, touched 
with his hands; he was able to think 
himself in Griffiths' body, and he 
kissed her with his lips, smiled at her 
with his smiling blue eyes. It was her 
emotion that surprised him. He had 
never thought her capable of passion, 
and this was passion: there was no 
mistaking it. Something seemed to 



272 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



give way in his heart; it really felt to 
him as though something were break- 
ing, and he felt strangely weak. 

"I don't want to make you un- 
happy. You needn't come away with 
me if you don't want to. Fll give you 
the money all the same." 

She shook her head. 

"No, I said I'd come, and I'll come." 

"What's the good, if you're sick 
with love for him?" 

"Yes, that's the word. I'm sick with 
love. I know it won't last, just as well 
as he does, but just now . . ." 

She paused and shut her eyes as 
though she were going to faint. A 
strange idea came to Philip, and he 
spoke it as it came, without stopping 
to think it out. 

"Why don't you go away with 
him?" 

"How can I? You know we haven't 
got the money." 

"I'll give you the money." 

"You?" 

She sat up and looked at him. Her 
eyes began to shine, and the colour 
came into her cheeks. 

"Perhaps the best thing would be to 
get it over, and then you'd come back 
to me." 

Now that he had made the sug- 
gestion he was sick with anguish, and 
yet the torture of it gave him a strange, 
subtle sensation. She stared at him 
with open eyes. 

"Oh, how could we, on your 
money? Harry wouldn't think of it." 

"Oh yes, he would, if you persuaded 
him." 

Her objections made him insist, and 
yet he wanted her with all his heart 
to refuse vehemently. 

"I'll give you a fiver, and you can 
go away from Saturday to Monday. 
You could easily do that. On Monday 
he's going home till he takes up his 
appointment at the North London." 



"Oh, Philip, do you mean that?" 
she cried, clasping her hands. "If you 
could only let us go— I would love . 
you so much afterwards, I'd do any- | 
thing for you. I'm sure I shall get over 
it if you'll only do that. Would you 
really give us the money?" 

"Yes," he said. 

She was entirely changed now. She 
began to laugh. He could see that 
she was insanely happy. She got up 
and knelt down by Philip's side, tak- 
ing his hands. 

"You are a brick, Philip. You're the 
best fellow I've ever known. Won't 
you be angry with me afterwards?" 

He shook his head, smiling, but 
with what agony in his heart! 

"May I go and tell Harry now? And 
can I say to him that you don't mind? 
He won't consent unless you promise 
it doesn't matter. Oh, you don't know 
how I love him! And afterwards I'll 
do anything you like. I'll come over 
to Paris with you or anywhere on 
Monday." 

She got up and put on her hat. 

"Where are you going?" 

"I'm going to ask him if he'll take 
me." 

"Already?" 

"D'you want me to stay? I'll stay 
if you like." 

She sat down, but he gave a little 
laugh. 

"No, it doesn't matter, you'd better 
go at once. There's only one thing: 
I can't bear to see Griflfiths just now, 
it would hurt me too awfully. Say I 
have no ill-feeling towards him or 
anything like that, but ask him to 
keep out of my way." 

"All right." She sprang up and put 
on her gloves. "I'll let you know what 
he says." 

"You'd better dine with me tonight."- 

"Very well." 

She put up her face for him to kiss 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



273 



her, and when he pressed his Hps to 
hers she threw her arms round his 
neck. 

"You are a darHng, Phihp." 
She sent him a note a couple of 
hours later to say that she had a head- 
ache and could not dine with him. 
Philip had almost expected it. He 
knew that she was dining with Grif- 
fiths. He was horribly jealous, but the 
sudden passion which had seized the 
pair of them seemed like something 
that had come from the outside, as 
though a god had visited them with it, 
and he felt himself helpless. It seemed 
so natural that they should love one 
another. He saw all the advantages 
that Griffiths had over himself and 
confessed that in Mildred's place he 
would have done as Mildred did. 
What hurt him most was Griffiths' 
treachery; they had been such good 
friends, and Griffiths knew how pas- 
sionately devoted he was to Mildred: 
he might have spared him. 

He did not see Mildred again till 
Friday; he was sick for a sight of her 
by then; but when she came and he 
realised that he had gone out of her 
thoughts entirely, for they were en- 
grossed in Griffiths, he suddenly hated 
her. He saw now why she and Grif- 
fiths loved one another, Griffiths was 
stupid, oh so stupid! he had known 
that all along, but had shut his eyes 
to it, stupid and empty-headed: that 
charm of his concealed an utter self- 
ishness; he was willing to sacrifice 
anyone to his appetites. And how in- 
ane was the life he led, lounging 
about bars and drinking in music-halls, 
wandering from one light amour to 
another! He never read a book, he was 
blind to everything that was not friv- 
olous and vulgar; he had never a 
thought that was fine: the word most 
common on his lips was smart; that 
was his highest praise for man or 
woman. Smart! It was no wonder he 



pleased Mildred. They suited one an- 
other. 

Philip talked to Mildred of things 
that mattered to neither of them. He 
knew she wanted to speak of Grif- 
fiths, but he gave her no opportunity. 
He did not refer to the fact that two 
evenings before she had put off din- 
ing with him on a trivial excuse. He 
was casual with her, trying to make 
her think he was suddenly grown in- 
different; and he exercised peculiar 
skill in saying little things which he 
knew would wound her; but which 
were so indefinite, so delicately cruel, 
that she could not take exception to 
them. At last she got up. 

"I think I must be going off now," 
she said. 

"I daresay you've got a lot to do," 
he answered. 

She held out her hand, he took 
it, said good-bye, and opened the door 
for her. He knew what she wanted 
to speak about, and he knew also that 
his cold, ironical air intimidated her. 
Often his shyness made him seem so 
frigid that unintentionally he fright- 
ened people, and, having discovered 
this, he was able when occasion arose 
to assume the same manner. 

"You haven't forgotten what you 
promised?" she said at last, as he held 
open the door. 

"What is that?" 

"About the money." 

"How much d'you want?" 

He spoke with an icy deliberation 
which made his words peculiarly of- 
fensive. Mildred flushed. He knew she 
hated him at that moment, and he 
wondered at the self-control by which 
she prevented herself from flying out 
at him. He wanted to make her suffer. 

"There's the dress and the book to- 
morrow. That's all. Harry won't come, 
so we shan't want money for that." 

Philip's heart gave a great thud 



274 

against his ribs, and he let the door- 
handle go. The door swung to. 

"Why not?" 

"He says we couldn't, not on your 
money." 

A devil seized Philip, a devil of 
self-torture which was always lurking 
within him, and, though with all his 
soul he wished that Griffiths and Mil- 
dred should not go away together, 
he could not help himself; he set 
himself to persuade Griffiths through 
her. 

"I don't see why not, if I'm will- 
ing," he said. 

"That's what I told him." 

"I should have thought if he really 
wanted to go he wouldn't hesitate." 

"Oh, it's not that, he wants to all 
right. He'd go at once if he had the 
money." 

"If he's squeamish about it I'll give 
you the money." 

"I said you'd lend it if he liked, and 
we'd pay it back as soon as we could." 

"It's rather a change for you going 
on your knees to get a man to take 
you away for a week-end." 

"It is rather, isn't it?" she said, with 
a shameless little laugh. 

It sent a cold shudder down Philip's 
spine. 

"What are you going to do then?" 
he asked. 

"Nothing. He's going home tomor- 
row. He must." 

That would be Phihp's salvation. 
With Griffiths out of the way he 
could get Mildred back. She knew no 
one in London, she would be thrown 
on to his society, and when they were 
alone together he could soon make her 
forget this infatuation. If he said noth- 
ing more he was safe. But he had a 
fiendish desire to break down their 
scruples, he wanted to know how 
abominably they could behave towards 
him; if he tempted them a little more 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



they would yield, and he took a fierce 
joy at the thought of their dishonour. 
Though every word he spoke tortured 
him, he found in the torture a horrible 
delight. 

"It looks as if it were now or never." 

"That's what I told him," she said. 

There was a passionate note in her 
voice which struck Philip. He was 
biting his nails in his nervousness. 

"Where were you thinking of go- 
ing?" 

"Oh, to Oxford. He was at the 
'Varsity there, you know. He said he'd 
show me the colleges." 

Philip remembered that once he 
had suggested going to Oxford for the 
day, and she had expressed firmly the 
boredom she felt at the thought of 
sights. 

"And it looks as if you'd have fine 
weather. It ought to be very jolly 
there just now." 

"I've done all I could to persuade 
him." 

"Why don't you have another try?" 

"Shall I say you want us to go?" 

"I don't think you must go as far 
as that," said Philip. 

She paused for a minute or two, 
looking at him. Philip forced himself 
to look at her in a friendly way. He 
hated her, he despised her, he loved 
her with all his heart. 

"I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll go 
and see if he can't arrange it. And 
then, if he says yes, I'll come and 
fetch the money tomorrow. When 
shall you be in?" 

"I'll come back here after luncheon 
and wait." 

"All right." 

"I'll give you the money for your 
dress and your room now." 

He went to his desk and took out 
what money he had. The dress was 
six guineas; there was besides her 
rent and her food, and the baby's keep 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



'^I'S 



for a week. He gave her eight pounds 
ten. 



"Thanks very much," she said. 
She left him. 



LXXVII 



After lunching in the basement of 
the Medical School Philip went back 
to his rooms. It was Saturday after- 
noon, and the landlady was cleaning 
the stairs. 

"Is Mr. Griffiths in?" he asked. 

"No, sir. He went away this morn- 
ing, soon after you went out." 

"Isn't he coming back?" 

"I don't think so, sir. He's taken his 
luggage." 

Philip wondered what this could 
mean. He took a book and began to 
read. It was Burton's Journey to Mec- 
cah, which he had just got out of the 
Westminster Public Library; and he 
read the first page, but could make 
no sense of it, for his mind was else- 
where; he was listening all the time 
for a ring at the bell. He dared not 
hope that Griffiths had gone away 
already, without Mildred, to his home 
in Cumberland. Mildred would be 
coming presently for the money. He 
set his teeth and read on; he tried 
desperately to concentrate his atten- 
tion; the sentences etched themselves 
in his brain by the force of his effort, 
but they were distorted by the agony 
he was enduring. He wished with all 
his heart that he had not made the 
horrible proposition to give them 
money; but now that he had made it 
he lacked the strength to go back on it, 
not on Mildred's account, but on his 
own. There was a morbid obstinacy 
in him which forced him to do the 
thing he had determined. He dis- 
covered that the three pages he had 
read had made no impression on him 



at all; and he went back and started 
from the beginning: he found himself 
reading one sentence over and over 
again; and now it weaved itself in 
with his thoughts, horribly, like some 
formula in a nightmare. One thing 
he could do was to go out and keep 
away till midnight; they could not 
go then; and he saw them calling at 
the house every hour to ask if he 
was in. He enjoyed the thought of 
their disappointment. He repeated that 
sentence to himself mechanically. 
But he could not do that. Let them 
come and take the money, and he 
would know then to what depths of 
infamy it was possible for men to 
descend. He could not read any more 
now. He simply could not see the 
words. He leaned back in his chair, 
closing his eyes, and, numb with 
misery, waited for Mildred. 

The landlady came in. 

"Will you see Mrs. Miller, sir?" 

"Show her in." 

Philip pulled himself together to 
receive her without any sign of what 
he was feeling. He had an impulse 
to throw himself on his knees and 
seize her hands and beg her not to go; 
but he knew there was no way of 
moving her; she would tell Griffiths 
what he had said and how he acted. 
He was ashamed. 

"Well, how about the little jaunt?" 
he said gaily. 

"We're going. Harry's outside. I 
told him you didn't want to see him, 
so he's kept out of your way. But he 
wants to know if he can come in just 



276 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



for a minute to say good-bye to you." 

"No, I won't see him," said Philip. 

He could see she did not care if he 
saw Griffiths or not. Now that she 
was there he wanted her to go quickly. 

"Look here, here's the fiver. Fd like 
you to go now." 

She took it and thanked him. She 
turned to leave the room. 

"When are you coming back?" he 
asked. 

"Oh, on Monday. Harry must go 
home then." 

He knew what he was going to 
say was humiliating, but he was broken 
down with jealousy and desire. 

"Then I shall see you, shan't IT 

He could not help the note of 
appeal in his voice. 

"Of course. I'll let you know the 
moment I'm back." 

He shook hands with her. Through 
the curtains he watched her jump in- 
to a four-wheeler that stood at the 
door. It rolled away. Then he threw 
himself on his bed and hid his face in 
his hands. He felt tears coming to his 
eyes, and he was angry with himself; 
he clenched his hands and screwed 
up his body to prevent them; but he 
could not; and great painful sobs were 
forced from him. 

He got up at last, exhausted and 
ashamed, and washed his face. He 
mixed himself a strong whiskey and 
soda. It made him feel a little better. 
Then he caught sight of the tickets 
to Paris, which were on the chimney- 
piece, and, seizing them, with an im- 
pulse of rage he flung them in the 
fire. He knew he could have got the 
money back on them, but it relieved 
him to destroy them. Then he went 
out in search of someone to be with. 
The club was empty. He felt he 
would go mad unless he found some- 
one to talk to; but Lawson was abroad; 
he went on to Hayward's rooms: the 



maid who opened the door told him 
that he had gone down to Brighton 
for the week-end. Then Philip went 
to a gallery and found it was just 
closing. He did not know what to do. 
He was distracted. And he thought 
of Griffiths and Mildred going to Ox- 
ford, sitting opposite one another in 
the train, happy. He went back to his 
rooms, but they filled him with horror, 
he had been so wretched in them; he 
tried once more to read Burton's book, 
but, as he read, he told himself again 
and again what a fool he had been; it 
was he who had made the suggestion 
that they should go away, he had 
offered the money, he had forced it 
upon them; he might have known 
what would happen when he intro- 
duced Griffiths to Mildred; his own 
vehement passion was enough to arouse 
the other's desire. By this time they 
had reached Oxford. They would put 
up in one of the lodging-houses in 
John Street; Philip had never been to 
Oxford, but Griffiths had talked to 
him about it so much that he knew 
exactly where they would go; and 
they would dine at the Clarendon: 
Griffiths had been in the habit of 
dining there when he went on the 
spree. Philip got himself something 
to eat in a restaurant near Charing 
Cross; he had made up his mind to 
go to a play, and afterwards he fought 
his way into the pit of a theatre at 
which one of Oscar Wilde's pieces 
was being performed. He wondered 
if Mildred and Griffiths would go to 
a play that evening: they must kill 
the evening somehow; they were too 
stupid, both of them to content them- 
selves with conversation : he got a fierce 
delight in reminding himself of the 
vulgarity of their minds which suited 
them so exactly to one another. He 
watched the play with an abstracted 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



277 



mind, trying to give himself gaiety 
by drinking whiskey in each interval; 
he was unused to alcohol, and it af- 
fected him. quickly, but his drunken- 
ness was savage and morose. When 
the play was over he had another drink. 
He could not go to bed, he knew he 
would not sleep, and he dreaded the 
pictures which his vivid imagination 
would place before him. He tried not 
to think of them. He knew he had 
drunk too much. Now he was seized 
with a desire to do horrible, sordid 
things; he wanted to roll himself in 
gutters; his whole being yearned for 
beastliness; he wanted to grovel. 

He walked up Piccadilly, dragging 
his club-foot, sombrely drunk, with 
rage and misery clawing at his heart. 
He was stopped by a painted harlot, 
who put her hand on his arm; he 
pushed her violently away with brutal 
words. He walked on a few steps and 
then stopped. She would do as well 
as another. He was sorry he had 
spoken so roughly to her. He went 
up to her. 



"I say," he began. 

"Go to hell," she said. 

Philip laughed. 

"I merely wanted to ask if you'd 
do me the honour of supping with 
me tonight." 

She looked at him with amazement, 
and hesitated for a while. She saw he 
was drunk. 

"I don't mind." 

He was amused that she should use 
a phrase he had heard so often on 
Mildred's lips. He took her to one of 
the restaurants he had been in the 
habit of going to with Mildred. He 
noticed as they walked along that 
she looked down at his limb. 

"I've got a club-foot," he said. "Have 
you any objection?" 

^Tou are a cure," she laughed. 

When he got home his bones were 
aching, and in his head there was a 
hammering that made him nearly 
scream. He took another whiskey and 
soda to steady himself, and going to 
bed sank into a dreamless sleep till 
mid-day. 



LXXVIII 



At last Monday came, and Philip 
thought his long torture was over. 
Looking out the trains he found that 
the latest by which Griffiths could 
reach home that night left Oxford 
soon after one, and he supposed that 
Mildred would take one which started 
a few minutes later to bring her to 
Ix)ndon. His desire was to go and 
meet it, but he thought Mildred would 
like to be left alone for a day; per- 
haps she would drop him a line in the 
evening to say she was back, and if not 
he would call at her lodgings next 
morning: his spirit was cowed. He 



felt a bitter hatred for Griffiths, 
but for Mildred, notwithstanding all 
that had passed, only a heart-rending 
desire. He was glad now that Hayward 
was not in London on Saturday after- 
noon when, distraught, he went in 
search of human comfort: he could 
not have prevented himself from tell- 
ing him everything, and Hayward 
would have been astonished at his 
weakness. He would despise him, and 
perhaps be shocked or disgusted that 
he could envisage the possibility of 
making Mildred his mistress after she 
had given herself to another man. 



278 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



What did he care if it was shocking 
or disgusting? He was ready for any 
compromise, prepared for more de- 
grading humiliations still, if he could 
only gratify his desire. 

Towards the evening his steps took 
him against his will to the house in 
which she lived, and he looked up at 
her window. It was dark. He did not 
venture to ask if she was back. He was 
confident in her promise. But there 
was no letter from her in the morning, 
and, when about mid-day he called, 
the maid told him she had not ar- 
rived. He could not understand it. 
He knew that Griffiths would have 
been obliged to go home the day be- 
fore, for he was to be best man at a 
wedding, and Mildred had no money. 
He turned over in his mind every 
possible thing that might have hap- 
pened. He went again in the after- 
noon and left a note, asking her to 
dine with him that evening as calmly 
as though the events of the last fort- 
night had not happened. He men- 
tioned the place and time at which 
they were to meet, and hoping against 
hope kept the appointment : though he 
waited for an hour she did not come. 
On Wednesday morning he was 
ashamed to ask at the house and sent 
a messenger-boy with a letter and in- 
structions to bring back a reply; but 
in an hour the boy came back with 
Philip's letter unopened and the an- 
swer that the lady had not returned 
from the country. Philip was beside 
himself. The last deception was more 
than he could bear. He repeated to 
himself over and over again that he 
loathed Mildred, and, ascribing to 
Griffiths this new disappointment, he 
hated him so much that he knew 
what was the delight of murder: he 
walked about considering what a joy 
it would be to come upon him on a 
dark night and stick a knife into his 
throat, just about the carotid artery, 



and leave him to die in the street 
like a dog. Philip was out of his 
senses with grief and rage. He did 
not hke whiskey, but he drank to 
stupefy himself. He went to bed drunk 
on the Tuesday and on the Wednes- 
day night. 

On Thursday morning he got up 
very late and dragged himself, blear- 
eyed and sallow, into his sitting-room 
to see if there were any letters. A 
curious feeling shot through his heart 
when he recognised the handwriting 
of Griffiths. 

Dear old man: 

1 hardly know how to write to you 
and yet I feel 1 must write. 1 ho'pe 
you're not awfully angry with me. 
1 know I oughtn't to have gone away 
with Milly, hut 1 simply couldn't help 
myself. She simply carried me off my 
feet and 1 would have done anything 
to get her. When she told me you 
had offered us the money to go I 
simply couldn't resist. And now it's all 
over I'm awfully ashamed of myself 
and 1 wish I hadn't heen such a fool. 
1 wish you'd write and say you're not 
angry with me, and 1 want you to 
let me come and see you. 1 was awfully 
hurt at your telling Milly you didn't 
want to see me. Do write me a line, 
there's a good chap, and tell me you 
forgive me. It'll ease my conscience. 
I thought you wouldn't mind or you 
wouldn't have offered the money. But 
I know 1 oughtn't to have taken it. 1 
came home on Monday and Milly 
wanted to stay a couple of days at 
Oxford hy herself. She's going hack 
to London on Wednesday, so hy the 
time you receive this letter you will 
have seen her and I hope everything 
will go off all right. Do write and say 
you forgive me. Please write at once. 
Yours ever, 

Harry. 

Philip tore up the letter furiously. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



279 



He did not mean to answer it. He 
despised Griffiths for his apologies, he 
had no patience with his prickings 
of conscience : one could do a dastardly 
thing if one chose, but it was con- 
temptible to regret it afterwards. He 
thought the letter cowardly and hyp- 
ocritical. He was disgusted at its senti- 
mentality. 

"It would be very easy if you could 
do a beastly thing," he muttered to 
himself, "and then say you were sorry, 
and that put it all right again." 

He hoped with all his heart he 
would have the chance one day to do 
Griffiths a bad turn. 

But at all events he knew that 
Mildred was in town. He dressed hur- 
riedly, not waiting to shave, drank a 
cup of tea, and took a cab to her room. 
The cab seemed to crawl. He was 
painfully anxious to see her, and un- 
consciously he uttered a prayer to the 
God he did not believe in to make 
her receive him kindly. He only 
wanted to forget. With beating heart 
he rang the bell. He forgot all his 
suffering in the passionate desire to 
enfold her once more in his arms. 

"Is Mrs. Miller in?" he asked joy- 
ously. 

"She's gone," the maid answered. 

He looked at her blankly. 

"She came about an hour ago and 
took away her things." 

For a moment he did not know what 
to say. 

"Did you give her my letter? Did 
she say where she was going?" 

Then he understood that Mildred 
had deceived him again. She was not 
coming back to him. He made an 
effort to save his face. 

"Oh, well, I daresay I shall hear 
from her. She may have sent a letter 
to another address." 

He turned away and went back 
hopeless to his rooms. He might have 
known that she would do this; she had 



never cared for him, she had made a 
fool of him from the beginning; she 
had no pity, she had no kindness, she 
had no charity. Tlie only thing was 
to accept the inevitable. The pain he 
was suffering was horrible, he would 
sooner be dead than endure it; and the 
thought came to him that it would be 
better to finish with the whole thing: 
he might throw himself in the river 
or put his neck on a railway line; but 
he had no sooner set the thought 
into words than he rebelled against it. 
His reason told him that he would get 
over his unhappiness in time; if he 
tried with all his might he could for- 
get her; and it would be grotesque to 
kill himself on account of a vulgar 
slut. He had only one life, and it 
was madness to fling it away. He 
felt that he would never overcome 
his passion, but he knew that after 
all it was only a matter of time. 
He would not stay in London. 
There everything reminded him of his 
unhappiness. He telegraphed to his 
uncle that he was coming to Black- 
stable, and, hurrying to pack, took 
the first train he could. He wanted to 
get away from the sordid rooms in 
which he had endured so much suf- 
fering. He wanted to breathe clean 
air. He was disgusted with himself. 
He felt that he was a little mad. 

Since he was grown up Philip 
had been given the best spare room 
at the vicarage. It was a corner-room 
and in front of one window was an 
old tree which blocked the view, but 
from the other you saw, beyond the 
garden and the vicarage field, broad 
meadows. Philip remembered the wail- 
paper from his earliest years. On the 
walls were quaint water colours of the 
early Victorian period by a friend of 
the Vicar's youth. They had a faded 
charm. The dressing-table was sur- 
rounded by stiff muslin. There was 



28c 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



an old tall-boy to put your clothes in. 
Philip gave a sigh of pleasure; he had 
never realised that all those things 
meant anything to him at all. At the 
vicarage life went on as it had always 
done. No piece of furniture had been 
moved from one place to another; the 
Vicar ate the same things, said the 
same things, went for the same walk 
every day; he had grown a little fatter, 
a little more silent, a little more nar- 
row. He had become accustomed to 
living without his wife and missed 
her very little. He bickered still with 
Josiah Graves. Philip went to see the 
churchwarden. He was a little thinner, 
a little whiter, a little more austere; 
he was autocratic still and still disap- 
proved of candles on the altar. The 
shops had still a pleasant quaint- 
ness; and Philip stood in front of that 
in which things useful to seamen were 
sold, sea-boots and tarpaulins and 
tackle, and remembered that he had 
felt there in his childhood the thrill of 
the sea and the adventurous magic of 
the unknown. 

He could not help his heart beat- 
ing at each double knock of the post- 
man in case there might be a letter 
from Mildred sent on by his land- 
lady in London; but he knew that 
there would be none. Now that he 
could think it out more calmly he 
understood that in trying to force Mil- 
dred to love him he had been attempt- 
ing the impossible. He did not know 
what it was that passed from a man 
to a woman, from a woman to a man, 
and made one of them a slave: it was 
convenient to call it the sexual in- 
stinct; but if it was no more than 
that, he did not understand why it 
should occasion so vehement an at- 
traction to one person rather than an- 
other. It was irresistible: the mind 
could not battle with it; friendship, 
gratitude, interest, had no power be- 
side it. Because he had not attracted 



Mildred sexually, nothing that he did 
had any eflFect upon her. The idea re- 
volted him; it made human nature 
beastly; and he felt suddenly that the 
hearts of men were full of dark places. 
Because Mildred was indifferent to him 
he had thought her sexless; her anae- 
mic appearance and thin lips, the body 
with its narrow hips and flat chest, the 
languor of her manner, carried out 
his supposition; and yet she was ca- 
pable of sudden passions which made 
her willing to risk everything to gratify 
them. He had never understood her 
adventure with Emil Miller: it had 
seemed so unlike her, and she had 
never been able to explain it; but 
now that he had seen her with Grif- 
fiths he knew that just the same thing 
had happened then: she had been 
carried off her feet by an ungovernable 
desire. He tried to think out what those 
two men had which so strangely at- 
tracted her. They both had a vulgar 
facetiousness which tickled her simple 
sense of humour, and a certain coarse- 
ness of nature; but what took her 
perhaps was the blatant sexuality 
which was their most marked charac- 
teristic. She had a genteel refinement 
which shuddered at the facts of life, 
she looked upon the bodily functions 
as indecent, she had all sorts of euphe- 
misms for common objects, she always 
chose an elaborate word as more be- 
coming than a simple one: the bru- 
tality of these men was like a whip 
on her thin white shoulders, and she 
shuddered with voluptuous pain. 

One thing Philip had made up his 
mind about. He would not go back 
to the lodgings in which he had suf- 
fered. He wrote to his landlady and 
gave her notice. He wanted to have 
his own things about him. He deter- 
mined to take unfurnished rooms: it ! 
would be pleasant and cheaper; and 
this was an urgent consideration, for 
during the last year and a half he had 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



281 



spent nearly seven hundred pounds. 
He must make up for it now by the 
most rigid economy. Now and then 
he thought of the future with panic; 
he had been a fool to spend so much 
money on Mildred; but he knew that 
if it were to come again he would act 
in the same way. It amused him some- 
times to consider that his friends, be- 
cause he had a face which did not 
express his feelings very vividly and a 
rather slow way of moving, looked 
upon him as strong-minded, deliberate, 
and cool. They thought him reason- 
able and praised his common sense; 
but he knew that his placid expression 
was no more than a mask, assumed 
unconsciously, which acted like the 
protective colouring of butterflies; and 
himself was astonished at the weak- 
ness of his will. It seemed to him 
that he was swayed by every light 
emotion, as though he were a leaf 
in the wind, and when passion seized 
him he was powerless. He had no 
self-control. He merely seemed to pos- 
sess it because he was indifferent to 
many of the things which moved 



other people. 

He considered with some irony the 
philosopy which he had developed 
for himself, for it had not been of 
much use to him in the conjuncture 
he had passed through; and he won- 
dered whether thought really helped 
a man in any of the critical affairs 
of life: it seemed to him rather that 
he was swayed by some power alien 
to and yet within himself, which 
urged him like that great wind of 
Hell which drove Paolo and Fran- 
cesca ceaselessly on. He thought of 
what he was going to do and, when 
the time came to act, he was power- 
less in the grasp of instincts, emo- 
tions, he knew not what. He acted 
as though he were a machine driven 
by the two forces of his environment 
and his personality; his reason was 
someone looking on, observing the 
facts but powerless to interfere: it was 
like those gods of Epicurus, who saw 
the doings of men from their empy- 
rean heights and had no might to alter 
one smallest particle of what oc- 
curred. 



LXXIX 



Philip went up to London a couple 
of days before the session began in 
order to find himself rooms. He 
hunted about the streets that led out 
of the Westminster Bridge Road, but 
their dinginess was distasteful to him; 
and at last he found one in Kenning- 
ton which had a quiet and old-world 
air. It reminded one a little of the 
London which Thackeray knew on 
that side of the river, and in the 
Kennington Road, through which the 
great barouche of the Newcomes must 
have passed as it drove the family to 
the West of London, the plane-trees 



were bursting into leaf. The houses 
in the street which Philip fixed upon 
were two-storied, and in most of the 
windows was a notice to state that 
lodgings were to let. He knocked at 
one which announced that the lodg- 
ings were unfurnished, and was shown 
by an austere, silent woman four 
very small rooms, in one of which 
there was a kitchen range and a sink. 
The rent was nine shillings a week. 
Philip did not want so many rooms, 
but the rent was low and he wished 
to settle down at once. He asked the 
landlady if she could keep the place 



282 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



clean for him and cook his breakfast, 
but she repHed that she had enough 
work to do without that; and he was 
pleased rather than otherwise because 
she intimated that she wished to have 
nothing more to do with him than to 
receive his rent. She told him that, if 
he inquired at the grocer's round the 
comer, which was also a post-office, 
he might hear of a woman who would 
*do* for him. 

Philip had a little furniture which 
he had gathered as he went along, an 
arm-chair that he had bought in Paris, 
and a table, a few drawings, and the 
small Persian rug which Cronshaw 
had given him. His uncle had offered 
a fold-up bed for which, now that 
he no longer let his house in August, 
he had no further use; and by spend- 
ing another ten pounds Philip bought 
himself whatever else was essential. 
He spent ten shillings on putting a 
corn-coloured paper in the room he 
was making his parlour; and he hung 
on the walls a sketch which Lawson 
had given him of the Quai des Grands 
Augustins, and the photograph of the 
Odalisque by Ingres and Manet's 
Olympia which in Paris had been the 
objects of his contemplation while he 
shaved. To remind himself that he 
too had once been engaged in the 
practice of art, he put up a charcoal 
drawing of the young Spaniard Mi- 
guel Ajuria: it was the best thing he 
had ever done, a nude standing with 
clenched hands, his feet gripping the 
floor with a peculiar force, and on his 
face that air of determination which 
had been so impressive; and though 
Philip after the long interval saw very 
well the defects of his work its as- 
sociations made him look upon it with 
tolerance. He wondered what had hap- 
pened to Miguel. There is nothing so 
terrible as the pursuit of art by those 
who have no talent. Perhaps, worn 



out by exposure, starvation, disease, 
he had found an end in some hospital, 
or in an access of despair had sought 
death in the turbid Seine; but perhaps 
with his Southern instability he had 
given up the struggle of his own ac- 
cord, and now, a clerk in some office in 
Madrid, turned his fervent rhetoric to 
politics and bull-fighting. 

Philip asked Lawson and Hayward 
to come and see his new rooms, and 
they came, one with a bottle of 
whiskey, the other with a pate de foie 
gras; and he was delighted when they 
praised his taste. He would have in- 
vited the Scotch stockbroker too, but 
he had only three chairs, and thus 
could entertain only a definite num- 
ber of guests. Lawson was aware that 
through him Philip had become very 
friendly with Norah Nesbit and now 
remarked that he had run across her 
a few days before. 

"She was asking how you were." 

Philip flushed at the mention of 
her name, (he could not get himself 
out of the awkward habit of reddening 
when he was embarrassed,) and Law- 
son looked at him quizzically. Law- 
son, who now spent most of the year 
in London, had so far surrendered to 
his environment as to wear his hair 
short and to dress himself in a neat 
serge suit and a bowler hat. 

"I gather that all is over between 
you," he said. 

'Tve not seen her for months." 

"She was looking rather nice. She 
had a very smart hat on with a lot 
of white ostrich feathers on it. She 
must be doing pretty well." 

Philip changed the conversation, 
but he kept thinking of her, and after 
an interval, when the three of them 
were talking of something else, he 
asked suddenly: 

"Did you gather that Norah was 
angry with me?" 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



283 



"Not a bit. She talked very nicely 
of you." 

"IVe got half a mind to go and see 
her." 

"She won't eat you." 

Philip had thought of Norah often. 
When Mildred left him his first 
thought was of her, and he told him- 
self bitterly that she would never have 
treated him so. His impulse was to go 
to her; he could depend on her pity; 
but he was ashamed: she had been 
good to him always, and he had 
treated her abominably. 

"If I'd only had the sense to stick 
to her!" he said to himself, afterwards, 
when Lawson and Hayward had gone 
and he was smoking a last pipe before 
going to bed. 

He remembered the pleasant hours 
they had spent together in the cosy 
sitting-room in Vincent Square, their 
visits to galleries and to the play, and 
the charming evenings of intimate con- 
versation. He recollected her solicitude 
for his welfare and her interest in all 
that concerned him. She had loved 
him with a love that was kind and 
lasting, there was more than sensuality 
in it, it was almost maternal; he had 
always known that it was a precious 
thing for which with all his soul he 
should thank the gods. He made up 
his mind to throw himself on her 
mercy. She must have suffered hor- 
ribly, but he felt she had the great- 
ness of heart to forgive him: she was 
incapable of malice. Should he write 
to her? No. He would break in on her 
suddenly and cast himself at her feet 
—he knew that when the time came 
he would feel too shy to perform such 
a dramatic gesture, but that was how 
he liked to think of it— and tell her 
that if she would take him back she 
might rely on him for ever. He was 
cured of the hateful disease from 
which he had suffered, he knew her 



worth, and now she might trust him. 
His imagination leaped forward to 
the future. He pictured himself row- 
ing with her on the river on Sundays; 
he would take her to Greenwich, he 
had never forgotten that delightful 
excursion with Hayward, and the 
beauty of the Port of London re- 
mained a permanent treasure in his 
recollection; and on the warm summer 
afternoons they would sit in the Park 
together and talk: he laughed to him- 
self as he remembered her gay chat- 
ter, which poured out like a brook 
bubbling over little stones, amusing, 
flippant, and full of character. The 
agony he had suffered would pass 
from his mind like a bad dream. 

But when next day, about tea-time, 
an hour at which he was pretty cer- 
tain to find Norah at home, he 
knocked at her door his courage sud- 
denly failed him. Was it possible for 
her to forgive him? It would be abom- 
inable of him to force himself on her 
presence. The door was opened by a 
maid new since he had been in the 
habit of calling every day, and he in- 
quired if Mrs. Nesbit was in. 

"Will you ask her if she could see 
Mr. Carey?" he said. "I'll wait here." 

The maid ran upstairs and in a 
moment clattered down again. 

"Will you step up, please, sir. Sec- 
ond floor front." 

"I know," said Philip, with a slight 
smile. 

He went with a fluttering heart. He 
knocked at the door. 

"Come in," said the well-known, 
cheerful voice. 

It seemed to say come in to a new 
life of peace and happiness. When he 
entered Norah stepped forward to 
greet him. She shook hands with him 
as if they had parted the day before. 
A man stood up. 

"Mr. Carey-Mr. Kingsford." 



284 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



Philip, bitterly disappointed at not 
finding her alone, sat down and took 
stock of the stranger. He had never 
heard her mention his name, but he 
seemed to Philip to occupy his chair 
as though he were very much at home. 
He was a man of forty, clean-shaven, 
with long fair hair very neatly plas- 
tered down, and the reddish skin and 
pale, tired eyes which fair men get 
when their youth is passed. He had a 
large nose, a large mouth; the bones of 
his face were prominent, and he was 
heavily made; he was a man of more 
than average height, and broad-shoul- 
dered. 

"I was wondering what had become 
of you," said Norah, in her sprightly 
manner. "I met Mr. Lawson the other 
day— did he tell you?— and I informed 
him that it was really high time you 
came to see me again." 

Philip could see no shadow of em- 
barrassment in her countenance, and 
he admired the ease with which she 
carried off an encounter of which him- 
self felt the intense awkwardness. She 
gave him tea. She was about to put 
sugar in it when he stopped her. 

"How stupid of mei" she cried. "I 
forgot." 

He did not beHeve that. She must 
remember quite well that he never 
took sugar in his tea. He accepted 
the incident as a sign that her non- 
chalance was affected. 

The conversation which Philip had 
interrupted went on, and presently 
he began to feel a little in the way. 
Kingsford took no particular notice of 
him. He talked fluently and well, 
not without humour, but with a 
slightly dogmatic manner: he was a 
journalist, it appeared, and had some- 
thing amusing to say on every topic 
that was touched upon; but it exas- 
perated Philip to find himself edged 
out of the conversation. He was deter- 



mined to stay the visitor out. He won- 
dered if he admired Norah. In the 
old days they had often talked of the 
men who wanted to flirt with her and 
had laughed at them together. Philip 
tried to bring back the conversation 
to matters which only he and Norah 
knew about, but each time the journal- 
ist broke in and succeeded in draw- 
ing it away to a subject upon which 
Philip was forced to be silent. He 
grew faintly angry with Norah, for 
she must see he was being made 
ridiculous; but perhaps she was in- 
flicting this upon him as a punish- | 
ment, and with this thought he 
regained his good humour. At last, 
however, the clock struck six, and 
Kingsford got up. 

"I must go," he said. 

Norah shook hands with him, and 
accompanied him to the landing. She 
shut the door behind her and stood 
outside for a couple of minutes. Philip 
wondered what they were talking 
about. 

"Who is Mr. Kingsford?" he 
asked cheerfully, when she returned. 

"Oh, he's the editor of one of 
Harmsworth's Magazines. He's been 
taking a good deal of my work lately." 

"I thought he was never going." 

"I'm glad you stayed. I wanted to 
have a talk with you." She curled 
herself into the large arm-chair, feet 
and all, in a way her small size made 
possible, and lit a cigarette. He smiled 
when he saw her assume the attitude 
which had always amused him. 

"You look just like a cat." 

She gave him a flash of her dark, 
fine eyes. 

"I really ought to break myself of 
the habit. It's absurd to behave like a 
child when you're my age, but I'm 
comfortable with my legs under me." 

"It's awfully jolly to be sitting in 
this room again," said Philip happily. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



285 



"You don't know how I've missed it." 

'Why on earth didn't you come be- 
fore?" she asked gaily. 

"I was afraid to," he said, redden- 
ing. 

She gave him a look full of kind- 
ness. Her lips outlined a charming 
smile. 

"You needn't have been." 

He hesitated for a moment. His 
heart beat quickly. 

"D'you remember the last time we 
met^ I treated you awfully badly— 
I'm dreadfully ashamed of myself." 

She looked at him steadily. She 
did not answer. He was losing his 
head; he seemed to have come on an 
errand of which he was only now 
realising the outrageousness. She did 
not help him, and he could only 
blurt out bluntly: 

"Can you ever forgive me?" 

Then impetuously he told her that 
Mildred had left him and that his 
unhappiness had been so great that 
he almost killed himself. He told her 
of all that had happened between 
them, of the birth of the child, and 
of the meeting with Griffiths, of his 
folly and his trust and his immense 
deception. He told her how often he 
had thought of her kindness and of 
her love, and how bitterly he had re- 
gretted throwing it away: he had only 
been happy when he was with her, 
and he knew now how great was her 
worth. His voice was hoarse with emo- 
tion. Sometimes he was so ashamed 
of what he was saying that he spoke 
with his eyes fixed on the ground. His 
face was distorted with pain, and yet 
he felt it a strange relief to speak. At 
last he finished. He flung himself back 
in his chair, exhausted, and waited. 
He had concealed nothing, and even, 
in his self-abasement, he had striven 
to make himself more despicable than 
he had really been. He was surprised 



that she did not speak, and at last he 
raised his eyes. She was not looking at 
him. Her face was quite white, and she 
seemed to be lost in thought. 

"Haven't you got anything to say 
to me?" 

She started and reddened. 

"I'm afraid you've had a rotten 
time," she said. "I'm dreadfully sorry." 

She seemed about to go on, but 
she stopped, and again he waited. At 
length she seemed to force herself to 
speak. 

"I'm engaged to be married to Mr. 
Kingsford." 

"Why didn't you tell me at once?" 
he cried. "You needn't have allowed 
me to humiliate myself before you." 

"I'm sorry, I couldn't stop 
you. ... I met him soon after you" 
—she seemed to search for an expres- 
sion that should not wound him— 
"told me your friend had come back. 
I was very wretched for a bit, he was 
extremely kind to me. He knew some- 
one had made me suffer, of course he 
doesn't know it was you, and I don't 
know what I should have done with- 
out him. And suddenly I felt I 
couldn't go on working, working, 
working; I was so tired, I felt so ill. 
I told him about my husband. He 
offered to give me the money to get 
my divorce if I would marry him as 
soon as I could. He had a very good 
job, and it wouldn't be necessary for 
me to do anything unless I wanted to. 
He was so fond of me and so anxious 
to take care of me. I was awfully 
touched. And now I'm very, very fond 
of him." 

"Have you got your divorce then?" 
asked Philip. 

"I've got the decree nisi. It'll be 
made absolute in July, and then we 
are going to be married at once." 

For some time Philip did not say 
anything. 



286 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"I wish I hadn't made such a fool 
of myself," he muttered at length. 

He was thinking of his long, hu- 
miliating confession. She looked at 
him curiously. 

"You were never really in love with 
me," she said. 

"It's not very pleasant being in 
love." 

But he was always able to recover 
himself quickly, and, getting up now 
and holding out his hand, he said: 

"I hope you'll be very happy. After 
all, it's the best thing that could have 
happened to you." 

She looked a little wistfully at him 
as she took his hand and held it. 



"You'll come and see me again, 
won't youf'" she asked. 

"No," he said, shaking his head. 
"It would make me too envious to see 
you happy." 

He walked slowly away from her 
house. After all she was right when 
she said he had never loved her. He 
was disappointed, irritated even, but 
his vanity was more affected than his 
heart. He knew that himself. And 
presently he grew conscious that the 
gods had played a very good practical 
joke on him, and he laughed at him- 
self mirthlessly. It is not very com- 
fortable to have the gift of being 
amused at one's own absurdity. 



LXXX 



For the next three months Philip 
worked on subjects which were new 
to him. The unwieldy crowd which 
had entered the Medical School nearly 
two years before had thinned out: 
some had left the hospital, finding 
the examinations more difficult to 
pass than they expected, some had 
been taken away by parents who had 
not foreseen the expense of life in 
London, and some had drifted away 
to other callings. One youth whom 
Philip knew had devised an ingenious 
plan to make money; he had bought 
things at sales and pawned them, but 
presently found it more profitable to 
pawn goods bought on credit; and it 
had caused a little excitement at the 
hospital when someone pointed out 
his name in police-court proceedings. 
There had been a remand, then as- 
surances on the part of a harassed 
father, and the young man had gone 
out to bear the White Man's Burden 
overseas. The imagination of another, 
a lad who had never before been in a 



town at all, fell to the glamour of 
music-halls and bar parlours; he spent 
his time among racing-men, tipsters, 
and trainers, and now was become a 
book-maker's clerk. Philip had seen 
him once in a bar near Piccadilly 
Circus in a tight-waisted coat and a 
brown hat with a broad, flat brim. 
A third, with a gift for singing and 
mimicry, who had achieved success at 
the smoking concerts of the Medical 
School by his imitation of notorious 
comedians, had abandoned the hospital 
for the chorus of a musical comedy. 
Still another, and he interested Philip 
because his uncouth manner and in- 
ter jectional speech did not suggest 
that he was capable of any deep emo- 
tion, had felt himself stifle among the 
houses of London. He grew haggard 
in shut-in spaces, and the soul he 
knew not he possessed struggled like a 
sparrow held in the hand, with little 
frightened gasps and a quick palpita- 
tion of the heart: he yearned for the 
broad skies and the open, desolate 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



287 



places among which his childhood 
had been spent; and he walked off 
one day, without a word to anybody, 
between one lecture and another; and 
the next thing his friends heard was 
that he had thrown up medicine and 
was working on a farm. 

Philip attended now lectures on 
medicine and on surgery. On certain 
mornings in the week he practised 
bandaging on out-patients glad to earn 
a little money, and he was taught aus- 
cultation and how to use the stetho- 
scope. He learned dispensing. He was 
taking the examination in Materia 
Medica in July, and it amused him 
to play with various drugs, concoct- 
ing mixtures, rolling pills, and making 
ointments. He seized avidly upon any- 
thing from which he could extract a 
suggestion of human interest. 

He saw Griffiths once in the dis- 
tance, but, not to have the pain of 
cutting him dead, avoided him. Philip 
had felt a certain self-consciousness 
with Griffiths' friends, some of whom 
were now friends of his, when he 
realised they knew of his quarrel with 
Griffiths and surmised they were 
aware of the reason. One of them, a 
very tall fellow, with a small head 
and a languid air, a youth called 
Ramsden, who was one of Griffiths' 
most faithful admirers, copied his ties, 
his boots, his manner of talking and 
his gestures, told Philip that Griffiths 
was very much hurt because Philip 
had not answered his letter. He 
wanted to be reconciled with him. 

"Has he asked you to give me the 
message"?" asked Philip. 

"Oh, no. Vm saying this entirely on 
my own," said Ramsden. "He's awfully 
sorry for what he did, and he says 
you always behaved like a perfect 
brick to him. I know he'd be glad to 
make it up. He doesn't come to the 
hospital because he's afraid of meeting 
you, and he thinks you'd cut him." 



"I should." 

"It makes him feel rather wretched, 
you know." 

"I can bear the trifling inconven- 
ience that he feels with a good deal of 
fortitude," said Philip. 

"He'll do anything he can to make 
it up." 

"How childish and hysterical! Why 
should he care? I'm a very insignificant 
person, and he can do very well with- 
out my company. I'm not interested 
in him any more." 

Ramsden thought Philip hard and 
cold. He paused for a moment or two, 
looking about him in a perplexed way. 

"Harry wishes to God he'd never 
had anything to do with the woman." 

"Does he?" asked Philip. 

He spoke with an indifference 
which he was satisfied with. No one 
could have guessed how violently his 
heart was beating. He waited impa- 
tiently for Ramsden to go on. 

"I suppose you've quite got over it 
now, haven't you?" 

"I?" said Philip. "Quite." 

Little by little he discovered the 
history of Mildred's relations with 
Griffiths. He listened with a smile on 
his lips, feigning an equanimity which 
quite deceived the dull-witted boy 
who talked to him. The week-end she 
spent with Griffiths at Oxford in- 
flamed rather than extinguished her 
sudden passion; and when Griffiths 
went home, with a feeling that was 
unexpected in her she determined to 
stay in Oxford by herself for a couple 
of days, because she had been so happy 
in it. She felt that nothing could in- 
duce her to go back to Philip. He 
revolted her. Griffiths was taken aback 
at the fire he had aroused, for he had 
found his two days with her in the 
country somewhat tedious; and he had 
no desire to turn an amusing episode 
into a tiresome affair. She made him 
promise to write to her, and, being an 



288 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



honest, decent fellow, with natural 
politeness and a desire to make him- 
self pleasant to everybody, when he 
got home he wrote her a long and 
charming letter. She answered it with 
reams of passion, clumsy, for she had 
no gift of expression, ill-written, and 
vulgar; the letter bored him, and when 
it was followed next day by another, 
and the day after by a third, he began 
to think her love no longer flattering 
but alarming. He did not answer; and 
she bombarded him with telegrams, 
asking him if he were ill and had 
received her letters; she said his silence 
made her dreadfully anxious. He was 
forced to write, but he sought to 
make his reply as casual as was pos- 
sible without being offensive: he 
begged her not to wire, since it was 
difl&cult to explain telegrams to his 
mother, an old-fashioned person for 
whom a telegram was still an event 
to excite tremor. She answered by re- 
turn of post that she must see him 
and announced her intention to pawn 
things (she had the dressing-case 
which Philip had given her as a wed- 
ding-present and could raise eight 
pounds on that) in order to come up 
and stay at the market town four 
miles from which was the village in 
which his father practised. This fright- 
ened Griffiths; and he, this time, made 
use of the telegraph wires to tell her 
that she must do nothing of the kind. 
He promised to let her know the 
moment he came up to London, and, 
when he did, found that she had 
already been asking for him at the 
hospital at which he had an appoint- 
ment. He did not like this, and, on 
seeing her, told Mildred that she was 
not to come there on any pretext; 
and now, after an absence of three 
weeks, he found that she bored him 
quite decidedly; he wondered why he 
had ever troubled about her, and made 



up his mind to break with her as soon 
as he could. He was a person who 
dreaded quarrels, nor did he want to 
give pain; but at the same time he had 
other things to do, and he was quite 
determined not to let Mildred bother 
him. When he met her he was pleas- 
ant, cheerful, amusing, affectionate; 
he invented convincing excuses for 
the interval since last he had seen 
her; but he did everything he could 
to avoid her. When she forced him 
to make appointments he sent tele- 
grams to her at the last moment to 
put himself off; and his landlady (the 
first three months of his appointment 
he was spending in rooms) had orders 
to say he was out when Mildred 
called. She would waylay him in the 
street and, knowing she had been 
waiting about for him to come out of 
the hospital for a couple of hours, he 
would give her a few charming, 
friendly words and bolt off with the 
excuse that he had a business en- 
gagement. He grew very skilful in 
slipping out of the hospital unseen. 
Once, when he went back to his 
lodgings at midnight, he saw a woman 
standing at the area railings and sus- 
pecting who it was went to beg a 
shake-down in Ramsden's rooms; next 
day the landlady told him that Mil- 
dred had sat crying on the doorsteps 
for hours, and she had been obliged to 
tell her at last that if she did not go 
away she would send for a police- 
man. 

"I tell you, my boy," said Ramsden, 
"you're jolly well out of it. Harry 
says that if he'd suspected for half a 
second she was going to make such a 
blooming nuisance of herself he'd 
have seen himself damned before he 
had anything to do with her." 

Philip thought of her sitting on 
that doorstep through the long hours 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



289 



of the night. He saw her face as she 
looked up dully at the landlady who 
sent her away. 

"I wonder what she's doing now." 
"Oh, she's got a job somewhere, 
thank God. That keeps her busy all 
day." 

The last thing he heard, just before 
the end of the summer session, was 
that Griffiths' urbanity had given way 
at length under the exasperation of 
the constant persecution. He had told 
Mildred that he was sick of being 
pestered, and she had better take her- 



self off and not bother him again. 

"It was the only thing he could 
do," said Ramsden. "It was getting a 
bit too thick." 

"Is it all over then?" asked Philip. 

"Oh, he hasn't seen her for ten 
days. You know, Harry's wonderful 
at dropping people. This is about the 
toughest nut he's ever had to crack, 
but he's cracked it all right." 

Then Philip heard nothing more 
of her at all. She vanished into the 
vast anonymous mass of the popula- 
tion of London. 



LXXXI 



At the beginning of the winter 
session Philip became an out-patients* 
clerk. There were three assistant-phy- 
sicians who took out-patients, two days 
a week each, and Philip put his name 
down for Dr. Tyrell. He was popular 
with the students, and there was some 
competition to be his clerk. Dr. Tyrell 
was a tall, thin man of thirty-five, 
with a very small head, red hair cut 
short, and prominent blue eyes: his 
face was bright scarlet. He talked well 
in a pleasant voice, was fond of a little 
joke, and treated the world hghtly. 
He was a successful man, with a large 
consulting practice and a knighthood 
in prospect. From commerce with stu- 
dents and poor people he had the 
patronising air, and from dealing al- 
ways with the sick he had the healthy 
man's jovial condescension, which 
some consultants achieve as the pro- 
fessional manner. He made the patient 
feel like a boy confronted by a jolly 
schoolmaster; his illness was an absurd 
piece of naughtiness which amused 
rather than irritated. 

The student was supposed to at- 



tend in the out-patients' room every 
day, see cases, and pick up what in- 
formation he could; but on the days 
on which he clerked his duties were a 
little more definite. At that time the 
out-patients' department at St. Luke's 
consisted of three rooms, leading into 
one another, and a large, dark wait- 
ing-room with massive pillars of ma- 
sonry and long benches. Here the 
patients waited after having been 
given their 'letters' at mid-day; and 
the long rows of them, bottles and 
gallipots in hand, some tattered and 
dirty, others decent enough, sitting in 
the dimness, men and women of all 
ages, children, gave one an impression 
which was weird and horrible. They 
suggested the grim drawings of 
Daumier. All the rooms were painted 
alike, in salmon-colour with a high 
dado of maroon; and there was in 
them an odour of disinfectants, min- 
gling as the afternoon wore on with 
the crude stench of humanity. The 
first room was the largest and in the 
middle of it were a table and an 
office chair for the physician; on each 



290 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



side of this were two smaller tables, a 
little lower: at one of these sat the 
house-physician and at the other the 
clerk who took the 'book' for the day. 
This was a large volume in which 
were written down the name, age, sex, 
profession, of the patient and the diag- 
nosis of his disease. 

At half past one the house-physi- 
cian came in, rang the bell, and told 
the porter to send in the old patients. 
There were always a good many of 
these, and it was necessary to get 
through as many of them as possible 
before Dr. Tyrell came at two. The 
H.P. with whom Philip came in con- 
tact was a dapper little man, exces- 
sively conscious of his importance: he 
treated the clerks with condescension 
and patently resented the familiarity 
of older students who had been his 
contemporaries and did not use him 
with the respect he felt his present 
position demanded. He set about the 
cases. A clerk helped him. The pa- 
tients streamed in. The men came 
first. Chronic bronchitis, "a nasty 'ack- 
ing cough," was what they chiefly 
suffered from; one went to the H.P. 
and the other to the clerk, handing 
in their letters: if they were going on 
well the words Rep 14 were written 
on them, and they went to the dis- 
pensary with their bottles or gallipots 
in order to have medicine given them 
for fourteen days more. Some old 
stagers held back so that they might 
be seen by the physician himself, but 
they seldom succeeded in this; and 
only three or four, whose condition 
seemed to demand his attention, were 
kept. 

Dr. Tyrell came in with quick 
movements and a breezy manner. He 
reminded one slightly of a clown leap- 
ing into the arena of a circus with 
the cry: Here we are again. His air 
seemed to indicate: What's all this 
nonsense about being ill? Fll soon 



put that right. He took his seat, asked 
if there were any old patients for him 
to see, rapidly passed them in review, 
looking at them with shrewd eyes as 
he discussed their symptoms, cracked 
a joke (at which all the clerks laughed 
heartily) with the H.P., who laughed 
heartily too but with an air as if he 
thought it was rather impudent for 
the clerks to laugh, remarked that it 
was a fine day or a hot one, and rang 
the bell for the porter to show in the 
new patients. 

They came in one by one and 
walked up to the table at which sat 
Dr. Tyrell. They were old men and 
young men and middle-aged men, 
mostly of the labouring class, dock 
labourers, draymen, factory hands, 
barmen; but some, neatly dressed, were 
of a station which was obviously su- 
perior, shop-assistants, clerks, and the 
like. Dr. Tyrell looked at these with 
suspicion. Sometimes they put on 
shabby clothes in order to pretend 
they were poor; but he had a keen 
eye to prevent what he regarded as 
fraud and sometimes refused to see 
people who, he thought, could well 
pay for medical attendance. Women 
were the worst offenders and they 
managed the thing more clumsily. 
They would wear a cloak and a skirt 
which were almost in rags, and neglect 
to take the rings off their fingers. 

"If you can afford to wear jewellery 
you can afford a doctor. A hospital is 
a charitable institution," said Dr. Tyr- 
ell. 

He handed back the letter and 
called for the next case. 

"But I've got my letter." 

"I don't care a hang about your 
letter; you get out. You've got no busi- 
ness to come and steal the time which 
is wanted by the really poor." 

The patient retired sulkily, with an 
angry scowl. 

"She'll probably write a letter to 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



291 



the papers on the gross mismanage- 
ment of the London hospitals," said 
Dr. Tyrell, with a smile, as he took 
the next paper and gave the patient 
one of his shrewd glances. 

Most of them were under the im- 
pression that the hospital was an in- 
stitution of the state, for which they 
paid out of the rates, and took the 
attendance they received as a right 
they could claim. They imagined 
the physician who gave them his time 
was heavily paid. 

Dr. Tyrell gave each of his clerks 
a case to examine. The clerk took the 
patient into one of the inner rooms; 
they were smaller, and each had a 
couch in it covered with black horse- 
hair: he asked his patient a variety of 
questions, examined his lungs, his 
heart, and his liver, made notes of fact 
on the hospital letter, formed in his 
own mind some idea of the diagnosis, 
and then waited for Dr. Tyrell to 
come in. This he did, followed by a 
small crowd of students, when he had 
finished the men, and the clerk read 
out what he had learned. The phy- 
sician asked him one or two questions, 
and examined the patient himself. If 
there was anything interesting to hear, 
students applied their stethoscope : you 
would see a man with two or three to 
the chest, and two perhaps to his back, 
while others waited impatiently to lis- 
ten. The patient stood among them a 
little embarrassed, but not altogether 
displeased to find himself the centre 
of attention: he listened confusedly 
while Dr. Tyrell discoursed glibly on 
the case. Two or three students listened 
again to recognise the murmur or the 
crepitation which the physician de- 
scribed, and then the man was told to 
put on his clothes. 

When the various cases had been 
examined Dr. Tyrell went back into 
the large room and sat down again 
at his desk. He asked any student 



who happened to be standing near 
him what he would prescribe for a 
patient he had just seen. The student 
mentioned one or two drugs. 

"Would you?" said Dr. Tyrell. 
"Well, that's original at all events. I 
don't think we'll be rash." 

This always made the students 
laugh, and with a twinkle of amuse- 
ment at his own bright hvunour the 
physician prescribed some other drug 
than that which the student had sug- 
gested. When there were two cases 
of exactly the same sort and the stu- 
dent proposed the treatment which 
the physician had ordered for the first, 
Dr. Tyrell exercised considerable in- 
genuity in thinking of something else. 
Sometimes, knowing that in the dis- 
pensary they were worked off their 
legs and preferred to give the medi- 
cines which they had all ready, the 
good hospital mixtures which had been 
found by the experience of years to 
answer their purpose so well, he 
amused himself by writing an elabo- 
rate prescription. 

"We'll give the dispenser some- 
thing to do. If we go on prescribing 
mist: alb: he'll lose his cunning." 

The students laughed, and the doc- 
tor gave them a circular glance of en- 
joyment in his joke. Then he touched 
the bell and, when the porter poked 
his head in, said: 

"Old women, please." 

He leaned back in his chair, chat- 
ting with the H.P. while the porter 
herded along the old patients. They 
came in, strings of anaemic girls, with 
large fringes and paUid lips, who 
could not digest their bad, insufficient 
food; old ladies, fat and thin, aged 
prematurely by frequent confinements, 
with winter coughs; women with this, 
that, and the other, the matter with 
them. Dr. Tyrell and his house-physi- 
cian got through them quickly. Time 
was getting on, and the air in the 



292 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



small room was growing more sickly. 
The physician looked at his watch. 

"Are there many new women to- 
day?" he asked. 

"A good few, I think," said the 
H.P. 

**We'd better have them in. You 
can go on with the old ones." 

They entered. With the men the 
most common ailments were due to the 
excessive use of alcohol, but with 
the women they were due to defective 
nourishment. By about six o'clock they 
were finished. Philip, exhausted by 
standing all the time, by the bad air, 
and by the attention he had given, 
strolled over with his fellow-clerks to 
the Medical School to have tea. He 
found the work of absorbing interest. 
There was humanity there in the 
rough, the materials the artist worked 
on; and Philip felt a curious thrill 
when it occurred to him that he was 
in the position of the artist and the 
patients were like clay in his hands. 
He remembered with an amused 
shrug of the shoulders his life in 
Paris, absorbed in colour, tone, values. 
Heaven knows what, with the aim of 
producing beautiful things: the di- 
rectness of contact with men and 
women gave a thrill of power which 
he had never known. He found an 
endless excitement in looking at their 
faces and hearing them speak; they 
came in each with his peculiarity, 
some shuffling uncouthly, some with 
a little trip, others with heavy, slow 
tread, some shyly. Often you could 
guess their trades by the look of them. 
You learnt in what way to put your 
questions so that they should be under- 
stood, you discovered on what subjects 
nearly all lied, and by what inquiries 
you could extort the truth notwith- 
standing. You saw the different way 
people took the same things. The diag- 
nosis of dangerous illness would be ac- 
cepted by one with a laugh and a joke, 



by another with dumb despair. Philip 
found that he was less shy with these 
people than he had ever been with 
others; he felt not exactly sympathy, 
for sympathy suggests condescension; 
but he felt at home with them. He 
found that he was able to put them at 
their ease, and, when he had been 
given a case to find out what he could 
about it, it seemed to him that the pa- 
tient delivered himself into his hands 
with a peculiar confidence. 

"Perhaps," he thought to himself, 
with a smile, "perhaps I'm cut out 
to be a doctor. It would be rather a 
lark if Fd hit upon the one thing Tm 
fit for." 

It seemed to Philip that he alone 
of the clerks saw the dramatic interest 
of those afternoons. To the others men 
and women were only cases, good if 
they were complicated, tiresome if ob- 
vious; they heard murmurs and were 
astonished at abnormal livers; an un- 
expected sound in the lungs gave them 
something to talk about. But to Philip 
there was much more. He found an 
interest in just looking at them, in the 
shape of their heads and their hands, 
in the look of their eyes and the 
length of their noses. You saw in that 
room human nature taken by surprise, 
and often the mask of custom was 
torn off rudely, showing you the soul 
all raw. Sometimes you saw an un- 
taught stoicism which was profoundly 
moving. Once Philip saw a man, 
rough and illiterate, told his case was 
hopeless; and, self-controlled himself, 
he wondered at the splendid instinct 
which forced the fellow to keep a 
stiff upper-lip before strangers. But was 
it possible for him to be brave when 
he was by himself, face to face with 
his soul, or would he then surrender 
to despair:* Sometimes there was trag- 
edy. Once a young woman brought 
her sister to be examined, a girl of 
eighteen, with delicate features and 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



293 



large blue eyes, fair hair that sparkled 
with gold when a ray of autumn sun- 
shine touched it for a moment, and 
a skin of amazing beauty. The stu- 
dents' eyes went to her with little 
smiles. They did not often see a pretty 
girl in these dingy rooms. The elder 
woman gave the family history, father 
and mother had died of phthisis, a 
brother and a sister, these two were 
the only ones left. The girl had been 
coughing lately and losing weight. 
She took off her blouse and the skin 
of her neck was like milk. Dr. Tyrell 
examined her quietly, with his usual 
rapid method; he told two or three of 
his clerks to apply their stethoscopes 
to a place he indicated with his finger; 
and then she was allowed to dress. 
The sister was standing a little apart 
and she spoke to him in a low voice, 
so that the girl should not hear. Her 
voice trembled with fear. 

"She hasn't got it, doctor, has she?" 

"Fm afraid there's no doubt about 
it." 

"She was the last one. When she 
goes I shan't have anybody." 

She began to cry, while the doctor 
looked at her gravely; he thought she 
too had the type; she would not make 
old bones either. The girl turned 
round and saw her sister's tears. She 
understood what they meant. The col- 
our fled from her lovely face and tears 
fell down her cheeks. The two stood 
for a minute or two, crying silently, 
and then the older, forgetting the in- 
different crowd that watched them, 
went up to her, took her in her arms, 
and rocked her gently to and fro as 
if she were a baby. 

When they were gone a student 
asked: 

"How long d'you think she'll last, 
sir?" 

Dr. Tyrell shrugged his shoulders. 

"Her brother and sister died within 
three months of the first symptoms. 



She'll do the same. If they were rich 
one might do something. You can't 
tell these people to go to St. Moritz. 
Nothing can be done for them." 

Once a man who was strong and 
in all the power of his manhood came 
because a persistent aching troubled 
him and his club-doctor did not seem 
to do him any good; and the verdict 
for him too w^as death, not the in- 
evitable death that horrified and yet 
was tolerable because science was help- 
less before it, but the death which was 
inevitable because the man was a little 
wheel in the great machine of a com- 
plex civilisation, and had as little 
power of changing the circumstances 
as an automaton. Complete rest was 
his only chance. The physician did 
not ask impossibilities. 

'Tou ought to get some very much 
lighter job." 

"There ain't no light jobs in my 
business." 

"Well, if you go on Hke this you'll 
kill yourself. You're very ill." 

"D'you mean to say I'm going to 
die?" 

"I shouldn't like to say that, but 
you're certainly unfit for hard work." 

"If I don't work who's to keep the 
wife and the kids?" 

Dr. Tyrell shrugged his shoulders. 
The dilemma had been presented to 
him a hundred times. Time was press- 
ing and there were many patients to 
be seen. 

"Well, I'll give you some medicine 
and you can come back in a week 
and tell me how you're getting on." 

The man took his letter with the 
useless prescription written upon it 
and walked out. The doctor might say 
what he liked. He did not feel so bad 
that he could not go on working. He 
had a good job and he could not 
afford to throw it away. 

"I give him a year," said Dr. Tyrell. 

Sometimes there was comedy. Now 



294 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



and then came a flash of cockney 
humour, now and then some old lady, 
a character such as Charles Dickens 
might have drawn, would amuse them 
by her garrulous oddities. Once a 
woman came who was a member of 
the ballet at a famous music-hall. She 
looked fifty, but gave her age as 
twenty-eight. She was outrageously 
painted and ogled the students im- 
pudently with large black eyes; her 
smiles were grossly alluring. She had 
abundant self-confidence and treated 
Dr. Tyrell, vastly amused, with the 
easy familiarity with which she might 
have used an intoxicated admirer. She 
had chronic bronchitis, and told him 
it hindered her in the exercise of her 
profession. 

"I don't know why I should *ave 
such a thing, upon my word I don't. 
I've never 'ad a day's illness in my 
life. You've only got to look at me 
to know that." 

She rolled her eyes round the young 
men, with a long sweep of her painted 
eyelashes, and flashed her yellow teeth 
at them. She spoke with a cockney 
accent, but with an aff^ectation of re- 
finement which made every word a 
feast of fun. 

"It's what they call a winter cough," 
answered Dr. Tyrell gravely. "A great 
many middle-aged women have it." 

"Well, I never! That is a nice thing 
to say to a lady. No one ever called 
me middle-aged before." 



She opened her eyes very wide and 
cocked her head on one side, looking 
at him with indescribable archness. 

"That is the disadvantage of our 
profession," said he. "It forces us some- 
times to be ungallant," 

She took the prescription and gave 
him one last, luscious smile. 

"You will come and see me dance, 
dearie, won't you?" 

"I will indeed." 

He rang the bell for the next case. 

"I am glad you gentlemen were here 
to protect me." 

But on the whole the impression 
was neither of tragedy nor of comedy. 
There was no describing it. It was 
manifold and various; there were tears 
and laughter, happiness and woe; it 
was tedious and interesting and indif- 
ferent; it was as you saw it: it was 
tumultuous and passionate; it was 
grave; it was sad and comic; it was 
trivial; it was simple and complex; 
joy was there and despair; the love of 
mothers for their children, and of men 
for women; lust trailed itself through 
the rooms with leaden feet, punishing 
the guilty and the innocent, helpless 
wives and wretched children; drink 
seized men and women and cost its in- 
evitable price; death sighed in these 
rooms; and the beginning of life, fill- 
ing some poor girl with terror and 
shame, was diagnosed there. There 
was neither good nor bad there. There 
were just facts. It was life. 



LXXXII 



Towards the end of the year, when 
Philip was bringing to a close his 
three months as clerk in the out-pa- 
tients' department, he received a letter 
from Lawson, who was in Paris. 



Dear Philip, 

Cronshaw is in London and would 
he glad to see you. He is living at 
4^ Hyde Street, Soho. I don't know 
where it is, hut 1 daresay you will 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



295 



he able to find out. Be a hrick and 
look after him a hit. He is very down 
on his luck. He will tell you what 
he is doing. Things are going on here 
very much as usual. Nothing seems to 
have changed since you were here. 
Glutton is hack, hut he has hecaine 
quite impossible. He has quarrelled 
with everybody. As far as 1 can make 
out he hasn't got a cent, he lives in 
a little studio right away beyond the 
Jardin des Plantes, but he won't let 
anybody see his work. He doesn't show 
anywhere, so one doesn't know what 
he is doing. He may be a genius, but 
on the other hand he may be off 
his head. By the way, 1 ran against 
Vlanagan the other day. He was shoe- 
ing Mrs. Flanagan round the Quarter. 
He has chucked art and is now in 
popper's business. He seems to be roll- 
ing. Mrs. Flanagan is very pretty and 
I'm trying to work a portrait. How 
much would you ask if you were me? 
I don't want to frighten them, and 
then on the other hand I don't want 
to be such an ass as to ask £150 if 
they're quite willing to give £300. 
Yours ever, 
Frederick Law son. 

Philip wrote to Cronshaw and re- 
ceived in reply the following letter. 
It was written on a half-sheet of com- 
mon note-paper, and the flimsy en- 
velope was dirtier than was justified 
by its passage through the post. 

Dear Carey, 

Of course 1 remember you very 
well. 1 have an idea that 1 had some 
part in rescuing you from the Slough 
of Despond in which myself am hope- 
lessly immersed. I shall be glad to 
see you. 1 am a stranger in a strange 
city and I am buffeted by the Philis- 
tines. It will be pleasant to talk of 
Paris. I do not ask you to come and 
see me, since my lodging is not of a 



magnificence fit for the reception of 
an eminent member of Monsieur Pur- 
gon's profession, but you will find me 
eating modestly any evening between 
seven and eight at a restaurant yclept 
Au Bon Plaisir in Dean Street. 
Your sincere 

]. Cronshaw, 

Philip went the day he received 
this letter. The restaurant, consisting 
of one small room, was of the poorest 
class, and Cronshaw seemed to be its 
only customer. He was sitting in the 
corner, well away from draughts, wear- 
ing the same shabby great-coat which 
PhiHp had never seen him without, 
with his old bowler on his head. 

"I eat here because I can be alone," 
he said. "They are not doing well; 
the only people who come are a few 
trollops and one or two waiters out 
of a job; they are giving up business, 
and the food is execrable. But the 
ruin of their fortunes is my advan- 
tage." 

Cronshaw had before him a glass 
of absinthe. It was nearly three years 
since they had met, and Philip was 
shocked by the change in his appear- 
ance. He had been rather corpulent, 
but now he had a dried-up, yellow 
look: the skin of his neck was loose 
and wrinkled; his clothes hung about 
him as though they had been bought 
for someone else; and his collar, 
three or four sizes too large, added to 
the slatternliness of his appearance. 
His hands trembled continually. 
PhiHp remembered the handwriting 
which scrawled over the page with 
shapeless, haphazard letters. Cronshaw 
was evidently very ill. 

"I eat little these days," he said. 
'Tm very sick in the morning. Fm just 
having some soup for my dinner, and 
then I shall have a bit of cheese." 

Philip's glance unconsciously went 



296 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



to the absinthe, and Cronshaw, seeing 
it, gave him the quizzical look with 
which he reproved the admonitions of 
common sense. 

"You have diagnosed my case, and 
you think it*s very wrong of me to 
drink absinthe." 

'TouVe evidently got cirrhosis of 
the liver," said Philip. 

"Evidently." 

He looked at Philip in the way 
which had formerly had the power 
of making him feel incredibly narrow. 
It seemed to point out that what he 
was thinking was distressingly ob- 
vious; and when you have agreed 
with the obvious what more is there 
to sayr> Philip changed the topic. 

"When are you going back to 
Parish" 

"Fm not going back to Paris. Fm 
going to die." 

The very naturalness with which 
he said this startled Philip. He 
thought of half a dozen things to say, 
but they seemed futile. He knew that 
Cronshaw was a dying man. 

"Are you going to settle in London 
then?" he asked lamely. 

"What is London to me? I am a 
fish out of water. I walk through the 
crowded streets, men jostle me, and 
I seem to walk in a dead city. I felt 
that I couldn't die in Paris. I wanted 
to die among my own people. I don't 
know what hidden instinct drew me 
back at the last." 

Philip knew of the woman Cron- 
shaw had lived with and the two 
draggle-tailed children, but Cronshaw 
had never mentioned them to him, 
and he did not like to speak of them. 
He wondered what had happened to 
them. 

"I don't know why you talk of dy- 
ing," he said. 

"I had penumonia a couple of win- 
ters ago, and they told me then it was 
a miracle that I came through. It ap- 



pears Fm extremely liable to it, and 
another bout will kill me." 

"Oh, what nonsense! You're not so 
bad as all that. You've only got to 
take precautions. Why don't you give 
up drinking?" 

"Because I don't choose. It doesn't 
matter what a man does if he's ready 
to take the consequences. Well, I'm 
ready to take the consequences. You 
talk glibly of giving up drinking, but 
it's the only thing I've got left now. 
What do you think life would be to 
me without it? Can you understand 
the happiness I get out of my ab- 
sinthe? I yearn for it; and when I 
drink it I savour every drop, and after- 
wards I feel my soul swimming in 
ineffable happiness. It disgusts you. 
You are a puritan and in your heart 
you despise sensual pleasures. Sensual 
pleasures are the most violent and the 
most exquisite. I am a man blessed 
with vivid senses, and I have indulged 
them with all my soul. I have to pay 
the penalty now, and I am ready 
to pay." 

Philip looked at him for a while 
steadily. 

"Aren't you afraid?" 

For a moment Cronshaw did not 
answer. He seemed to consider his 
reply. 

"Sometimes, when I'm alone." He 
looked at Philip. "You think that's a 
condemnation? You're wrong. I'm not 
afraid of my fear. It's folly, the Chris- 
tian argument that you should live 
always in view of your death. The 
only way to live is to forget that 
you're going to die. Death is unim- 
portant. The fear of it should never 
influence a single action of the wise 
man. I know that I shall die struggling 
for breath, and I know that I shall be 
horribly afraid. I know that I shall 
not be able to keep myself from re- 
gretting bitterly the life that has 
brought me to such a pass; but I dis- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



297 



own that regret. I now, weak, old, 
diseased, poor, dying, hold still my 
soul in my hands, and I regret noth- 
ing." 

"D you remember that Persian car- 
pet you gave me?" asked Philip. 

Cronshaw smiled his old, slow smile 
of past days. 

"I told you that it would give you 



an answer to your question when you 
asked me what was the meaning of 
life. Well, have you discovered the 
answer?" 

"No," smiled Philip. "Won't you 
tell it me?" 

"No, no, I can't do that. The an- 
swer is meaningless unless you dis- 
cover it for yourself." 



LXXXIII 



Cronshaw was publishing his 
poems. His friends had been urging 
him to do this for years, but his lazi- 
ness made it impossible for him to 
take the necessary steps. He had al- 
ways answered their exhortations by 
telling them that the love of poetry 
was dead in England. You brought 
out a book which had cost you years 
of thought and labour; it was given 
two or three contemptuous lines 
among a batch of similar volumes, 
twenty or thirty copies were sold, and 
the rest of the edition was pulped. 
He had long since worn out the de- 
sire for fame. That was an illusion 
like all else. But one of his friends 
had taken the matter into his own 
hands. This was a man of letters, 
named Leonard Upjohn, whom 
Philip had met once or twice with 
Cronshaw in the cafes of the Quarter. 
He had a considerable reputation in 
England as a critic and was the ac- 
credited exponent in this country of 
modem French literature. He had 
lived a good deal in France among 
the men who made the Mercure de 
France the liveliest review of the day, 
and by the simple process of expressing 
in English their point of view he had 
acquired in England a reputation for 
originality. Philip had read some of 
his articles. He had formed a style 



for himself by a close imitation of 
Sir Thomas Browne; he used elaborate 
sentences, carefully balanced, and ob- 
solete, resplendent words: it gave his 
writing an appearance of individuality. 
Leonard Upjohn had induced Cron- 
shaw to give him all his poems and 
found that there were enough to make 
a volume of reasonable size. He prom- 
ised to use his influence with publish- 
ers. Cronshaw was in want of money. 
Since his illness he had found it more 
difficult than ever to work steadily; he 
made barely enough to keep himself 
in liquor; and when Upjohn vsnrote 
to him that this publisher and the 
other, though admiring the poems, 
thought it not worth while to publish 
them, Cronshaw began to grow in- 
terested. He wrote impressing upon 
Upjohn his great need and urging 
him to make more strenuous efforts. 
Now that he was going to die he 
wanted to leave behind him a pub- 
lished book, and at the back of his 
mind was the feeling that he had 
produced great poetry. He expected 
to burst upon the world like a new 
star. There was something fine in 
keeping to himself these treasures of 
beauty all his life and giving them 
to the world disdainfully when, he 
and the world parting company, he 
had no further use for them. 



i 



298 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



His decision to come to England 
was caused directly by an announce- 
ment from Leonard Upjohn that a 
publisher had consented to print the 
poems. By a miracle of persuasion Up- 
john had persuaded him to give ten 
pounds in advance of royalties. 

"In advance of royalties, mind you," 
said Cronshaw to Philip. "Milton only 
got ten pounds down." 

Upjohn had promised to write a 
signed article about them, and he 
would ask his friends who reviewed 
to do their best. Cronshaw pretended 
to treat the matter with detachment, 
but it was easy to see that he was 
delighted with the thought of the stir 
he would make. 

One day Philip went to dine by 
arrangement at the v^rretched eating- 
house at which Cronshaw insisted on 
taking his meals, but Cronshaw did 
not appear. Philip learned that he 
had not been there for three days. 
He got himself something to eat and 
went round to the address from which 
Cronshaw had first written to him. 
He had some difficulty in finding 
Hyde Street. It was a street of dingy 
houses huddled together; many of the 
windows had been broken and were 
clumsily repaired with strips of French 
newspaper; the doors had not been 
painted for years; there were shabby 
little shops on the ground floor, laun- 
dries, cobblers, stationers. Ragged chil- 
dren played in the road, and an old 
barrel-organ was grinding out a vulgar 
tune. Philip knocked at the door of 
Cronshaw's house, (there was a shop 
of cheap sweetstuffs at the bottom,) 
and it was opened by an elderly 
Frenchwoman in a dirty apron. Philip 
asked her if Cronshaw was in. 

"Ah, yes, there is an Englishman 
who lives at the top, at the back. I 
don't know if he's in. If you want him 
you had better go up and see." 

The staircase was lit by one jet of 



gas. There was a revolting odour in 
the house. When Philip was passing 
up a woman came out of a room on 
the first floor, looked at him suspi- 
ciously, but made no remark. There 
were three doors on the top landing. 
Philip knocked at one, and knocked 
again; there was no reply; he tried 
the handle, but the door was locked. 
He knocked at another door, got no 
answer, and tried the door again. It 
opened. The room was dark. 

"Who's that?" 

He recognised Cronshaw's voice. 

"Carey. Can I come inr^" 

He received no answer. He walked 
in. The window was closed and the 
stink was overpowering. There was a 
certain amount of light from the arc- 
lamp in the street, and he saw that it 
was a small room with two beds in 
it, end to end; there was a washing- 
stand and one chair, but they left 
little space for anyone to move in. 
Cronshaw was in the bed nearest the 
window. He made no movement, but 
gave a low chuckle. 

"Why don't you hght the candle?" 
he said then. 

Philip struck a match and discov- 
ered that there was a candlestick on 
the floor beside the bed. He lit it and 
put it on the washing-stand. Cronshaw 
was lying on his back immobile; he 
looked very odd in his nightshirt; and 
his baldness was disconcerting. His 
face was earthy and deathlike. 

"I say, old man, you look awfully 
ill. Is there anyone to look after you 
here?" 

"George brings me in a bottle of 
milk in the morning before he goes to 
his work." 

"Who's George?" 

"I call him George because his 
name is Adolphe. He shares this pala- 
tial apartment with me." 

Philip noticed then that the second 
bed had not been made since it was 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



299 



slept in. The pillow was black where 
the head had rested. 

"You don't mean to say you're shar- 
ing this room with somebody else?" 
he cried. 

"Why not? Lodging costs money in 
Soho. George is a waiter, he goes out 
at eight in the morning and does not 
come in till closing time, so he isn't 
in my way at all. We neither of us 
sleep well, and he helps to pass away 
the hours of the night by telhng me 
stories of his life. He's a Swiss, and 
I've always had a taste for waiters. 
They see life from an entertaining 
angle." 

"How long have you been in bed?" 

"Three days." 

"D'you mean to say you've had 
nothing but a bottle of milk for the 
last three days? Why on earth didn't 
you send me a line? I can't bear to 
think of you lying here all day long 
without a soul to attend to you." 

Cronshaw gave a httle laugh. 

"Look at your face. Why, dear boy, 
I really believe you're distressed. You 
nice fellow." 

Phihp blushed. He had not sus- 
pected that his face showed the dismay 
he felt at the sight of that horrible 
room and the wretched circumstances 
of the poor poet. Cronshaw, watching 
Philip, went on with a gentle smile. 

"I've been quite happy. Look, here 
are my proofs. Remember that I am 
indifiFerent to discomforts which would 
harass other folk. What do the cir- 
cumstances of life matter if your 
dreams make you lord paramount of 
time and space?" 

The proofs were lying on his bed, 
and as he lay in the darkness he had 
been able to place his hands on them. 
He showed them to Philip and his 
eyes glowed. He turned over the 
pages, rejoicing in the clear type; he 
read out a stanza. 

"They don't look bad, do they?" 



Phihp had an idea. It would in- 
volve him in a little expense and he 
could not afford even the smallest in- 
crease of expenditure; but on the 
other hand this was a case where it 
revolted him to think of economy. 

"I say, I can't bear the thought of 
your remaining here. I've got an extra 
room, it's empty at present, but I can 
easily get someone to lend me a bed. 
Won't you come and live with me for 
a while? It'll save you the rent of 
this." 

"Oh, my dear boy, you'd insist on 
my keeping my window open." 

"You shall have every window in 
the place sealed if you like." 

"I shall be all right tomorrow. I 
could have got up today, only I felt 
lazy." 

"Then you can very easily make 
the move. And then if you don't feel 
well at any time you can just go to 
bed, and I shall be there to look after 
you." 

"If it'll please you I'll come," said 
Cronshaw, with his torpid not un- 
pleasant smile. 

"That'll be ripping." 

They settled that Philip should 
fetch Cronshaw next day, and Philip 
snatched an hour from his busy morn- 
ing to arrange the change. He found 
Cronshaw dressed, sitting in his hat 
and great-coat on the bed, with a 
small, shabby portmanteau, containing 
his clothes and books, already packed: 
it was on the floor by his feet, and 
he looked as if he were sitting in the 
waiting-room of a station. Philip 
laughed at the sight of him. They 
went over to Kennington in a four- 
wheeler, of which the windows were 
carefully closed, and Philip installed 
his guest in his own room. He had 
gone out early in the morning and 
bought for himself a second-hand bed- 
stead, a cheap chest of drawers, and 
a looking-glass. Cronshaw settled 



300 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



down at once to correct his proofs. 
He was much better. 

Phihp found him, except for the 
irritabihty which was a symptom of 
his disease, an easy guest. He had a 
lecture at nine in the morning, so did 
not see Cronshaw till the night. Once 
or twice Philip persuaded him to share 
the scrappy meal he prepared for him- 
self in the evening, but Cronshaw was 
too restless to stay in, and preferred 
generally to get himself something to 
eat in one or other of the cheapest 
restaurants in Soho. Philip asked him 
to see Dr. Tyrell, but he stoutly re- 



fused; he knew a doctor would tell 
him to stop drinking, and this he was 
resolved not to do. He always felt 
horribly ill in the morning, but his 
absinthe at mid-day put him on his 
feet again, and by the time he came 
home, at midnight, he was able to 
talk with the brilliancy which had as- 
tonished Philip when first he made his 
acquaintance. His proofs were cor- 
rected; and the volume was to come 
out among the publications of the 
early spring, when the public might 
be supposed to have recovered from 
the avalanche of Christmas books. 



LXXXIV 



At THE new year Philip became 
dresser in the surgical out-patients* de- 
partment. The work was of the same 
character as that which he had just 
been engaged on, but with the greater 
directness which surgery has than 
medicine; and a larger proportion of 
the patients suffered from those two 
diseases which a supine public allows, 
in its prudishness, to be spread broad- 
cast. The assistant-surgeon for whom 
Philip dressed was called Jacobs. He 
was a short, fat man, with an exuber- 
ant joviality, a bald head, and a loud 
voice; he had a cockney accent, and 
was generally described by the stu- 
dents as an 'awful bounder'; but his 
cleverness, both as a surgeon and as 
a teacher, caused some of them to 
overlook this. He had also a consider- 
able facetiousness, which he exercised 
impartially on the patients and on the 
students. He took a great pleasure in 
making his dressers look foolish. Since 
they were ignorant, nervous, and 
could not answer as if he were their 
equal, this was not very difficult. He 
enjoyed his afternoons, with the home 



truths he permitted himself, much 
more than the students who had to 
put up with them with a smile. One 
day a case came up of a boy with a 
club-foot. His parents wanted to know 
whether anything could be done. Mr. 
Jacobs turned to Philip. 

"You'd better take this case, Carey. 
It's a subject you ought to know some- 
thing about." 

Phihp flushed, all the more because 
the surgeon spoke obviously with a 
humorous intention, and his brow- 
beaten dressers laughed obsequiously. 
It was in point of fact a subject which 
Philip, since coming to the hospital, 
had studied with anxious attention. 
He had read everything in the library 
which treated of talipes in its various 
forms. He made the boy take off his 
boot and stocking. He was fourteen, 
with a snub nose, blue eyes, and a 
freckled face. His father explained 
that they wanted something done if 
possible, it was such a hindrance to 
the kid in earning his living. Philip 
looked at him curiously. He was a 
jolly boy, not at all shy, but talkative 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



301 



and with a cheekiness which his father 
reproved. He was much interested in 
his foot. 

"It's only for the looks of the thing, 
you know," he said to Philip. "I 
don't find it no trouble." 

"Be quiet, Ernie," said his father, 
"There's too much gas about you." 

Philip examined the foot and passed 
his hand slowly over the shapelessness 
of it. He could not understand why 
the boy felt none of the humiliation 
which always oppressed himself. He 
wondered why he could not take his 
deformity with that philosophic indif- 
ference. Presently Mr. Jacobs came up 
to him. The boy was sitting on the 
edge of a couch, the surgeon and 
Philip stood on each side of him; and 
in a semi-circle, crowding round, were 
students. With accustomed brilliancy 
Jacobs gave a graphic Httle discourse 
upon the club-foot: he spoke of its 
varieties and of the forms which fol- 
lowed upon different anatomical con- 
ditions. 

"I suppose you've got talipes 
equinus?" he said, turning suddenly 
to Philip. 

"Yes." 

Philip felt the eyes of his fellow- 
students rest on him, and he cursed 
himself because he could not help 
blushing. He felt the sweat start up 
in the palms of his hands. The sur- 
geon spoke with the fluency due to 
long practice and with the admirable 
perspicacity which distinguished him. 
He was tremendously interested in his 
profession. But Philip did not listen. 
He was only wishing that the fellow 
would get done quickly. Suddenly he 
reaHsed that Jacobs was addressing 
him. 

"You don't mind taking off your 
sock for a moment, Carey?" 

Philip felt a shudder pass through 
him. He had an impulse to tell the 
surgeon to go to hell, but he had not 



the courage to make a scene. He feared 
his brutal ridicule. He forced himself 
to appear indifferent. 

"Not a bit," he said. 

He sat down and unlaced his boot. 
His fingers were trembling and he 
thought he should never untie the 
knot. He remembered how they had 
forced him at school to show his foot, 
and the misery which had eaten into 
his soul. 

"He keeps his feet nice and clean, 
doesn't he?" said Jacobs, in his rasping, 
cockney voice. 

The attendant students giggled. 
Philip noticed that the boy whom 
they were examining looked down at 
his foot with eager curiosity. Jacobs 
took the foot in his hands and said: 

"Yes, that's what I thought. I see 
you've had an operation. When you 
were a child, I suppose?" 

He went on with his fluent ex- 
planations. The students leaned over 
and looked at the foot. Two or three 
examined it minutely when Jacobs let 
it go. 

"When you've quite done," said 
Philip, with a smile, ironically. 

He could have killed them all. He 
thought how jolly it would be to jab 
a chisel (he didn't know why that 
particular instrument came into his 
mind) into their necks. What beasts 
men were! He wished he could be- 
lieve in hell so as to comfort himself 
with the thought of the horrible tor- 
tures which would be theirs. Mr. 
Jacobs turned his attention to treat- 
ment. He talked partly to the boy's 
father and partly to the students. 
Philip put on his sock and laced his 
boot. At last the surgeon finished. But 
he seemed to have an afterthought 
and turned to Philip. 

"You know, I think it might be 
worth your while to have an opera- 
tion. Of course I couldn't give you a 
normal foot, but I think I can do 



302 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



something. You might think about it, 
and when you want a hoUday you 
can just come into the hospital for a 
bit." 

Philip had often asked himself 
whether anything could be done, but 
his distaste for any reference to the 
subject had prevented him from con- 
sulting any of the surgeons at the 
hospital. His reading told him that 
whatever might have been done when 
he was a small boy, and then treat- 
ment of talipes was not as skilful as 
in the present day, there was small 
chance now of any great benefit. Still 
it would be worth while if an opera- 
tion made it possible for him to wear a 
more ordinary boot and to limp less. 
He remembered how passionately he 
had prayed for the miracle which his 
uncle had assured him was possible to 
omnipotence. He smiled ruefully. 

"I was rather a simple soul in those 
days,** he thought. 

Towards the end of February it 
was clear that Cronshaw was growing 
much worse. He was no longer able 
to get up. He lay in bed, insisting 
that the window should be closed al- 
ways, and refused to see a doctor; he 
would take little nourishment, but de- 
manded whiskey and cigarettes: Philip 
knew that he should have neither, but 
Cronshaw's argument was unanswera- 
ble. 

"I daresay they are killing me. I 
don't care. YouVe warned me, you Ve 
done all that was necessary: I ignore 
your warning. Give me something to 
drink and be damned to you." 

Leonard Upjohn blew in two or 
three times a week, and there was 
something of the dead leaf in his ap- 
pearance which made that word ex- 
actly descriptive of the manner of his 
appearance. He was a weedy-looking 
fellow of five-and-thirty, with long 
pale hair and a white face; he had 



the look of a man who lived too little 
in the open air. He wore a hat like a 
dissenting minister's. Philip disliked 
him for his patronising manner and 
was bored by his fluent conversation. 
Leonard Upjohn liked to hear him- 
self talk. He was not sensitive to the 
interest of his listeners, which is the 
first requisite of the good talker; and 
he never realised that he was telling 
people what they knew already. With 
measured words he told Philip what 
to think of Rodin, Albert Samain, and 
Caesar Franck. Philip's charwoman 
only came in for an hour in the morn- 
ing, and since Philip was obliged to 
be at the hospital all day Cronshaw 
was left much alone. Upjohn told 
Philip that he thought someone should 
remain with him, but did not offer to 
make it possible. 

"It's dreadful to think of that great 
poet alone. Why, he might die with- 
out a soul at hand." 

"I think he very probably will," 
said Philip. 

"How can you be so callous!" 

"Why don't you come and do your 
work here every day, and then you'd 
be near if he wanted anything?" asked 
Philip drily. 

"I? My dear fellow, I can only work 
in the surroundings I'm used to, and 
besides I go out so much." 

Upjohn was also a little put out 
because Philip had brought Cronshaw 
to his own rooms. 

"I wish you had left him in Soho," 
he said, with a wave of his long, thin 
hands. "There was a touch of romance 
in that sordid attic. I could even bear 
it if it were Wapping or Shoreditch, 
but the respectability of Kennington! 
What a place for a poet to die!" 

Cronshaw was often so ill-hu- 
moured that Philip could only keep 
his temper by remembering all the 
time that this irritability was a symp- 
tom of the disease. Upjohn came 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



sometimes before Philip was in, and 
then Cronshaw would complain of 
him bitterly. Upjohn listened with 
complacency. 

"The fact is that Carey has no sense 
of beauty," he smiled. "He has a mid- 
dle-class mind." 

He was very sarcastic to Philip, and 
Philip exercised a good deal of self- 
control in his dealings with him. But 
one evening he could not contain him- 
self. He had had a hard day at the 
hospital and was tired out. Leonard 
Upjohn came to him, while he was 
making himself a cup of tea in the 
kitchen, and said that Cronshaw was 
complaining of Philip's insistence that 
he should have a doctor. 

"Don't you realise that you're en- 
joying a very rare, a very exquisite 
privilege? You ought to do everything 
in your power, surely, to show your 
sense of the greatness of your trust." 

"It's a rare and exquisite privilege 
which I can ill afford," said Philip. 

Whenever there was any question 
of money, Leonard Upjohn assumed 
a slightly disdainful expression. His 
sensitive temperament was offended by 
the reference. 

"There's something fine in Cron- 
shaw's attitude, and you disturb it by 
your importunity. You should make 
allowances for the delicate imaginings 
which you cannot feel." 

Philip's face darkened. 

"Let us go in to Cronshaw,** he said 
frigidly. 

The poet was lying on his back, 
reading a book, with a pipe in his 
mouth. The air was musty; and the 
room, notwithstanding PhiHp's tidying 
up, had the bedraggled look which 
seemed to accompany Cronshaw wher- 
ever he went. He took off his spec- 
tacles as they came in. Philip was in a 
towering rage. 

"Upjohn tells me you've been com- 
plaining to him because I've urged you 



303 

to have a doctor," he said. "I want you 
to have a doctor, because you may die 
any day, and if you hadn't been seen 
by anyone I shouldn't be able to get a 
certificate. There'd have to be an in- 
quest and I should be blamed for not 
calling a doctor in." 

"I hadn't thought of that. I thought 
you wanted me to see a doctor for 
my sake and not for your own. I'll 
see a doctor whenever you like." 

Philip did not answer, but gave an 
almost imperceptible shrug of the 
shoulders. Cronshaw, watching him, 
gave a Httle chuckle. 

"Don't look so angry, my dear. I 
know very well you want to do ev- 
erything you can for me. Let's see 
your doctor, perhaps he can do some- 
thing for me, and at any rate it'll com- 
fort you." He turned his eyes to Up- 
john. "You're a damned fool, Leonard. 
Why d'you want to worry the boy? 
He has quite enough to do to put 
up with me. You'll do nothing more 
for me than vnrite a pretty article about 
me after my death. I know you." 

Next day Philip went to Dr. Tyrell. 
He felt that he was the sort of man 
to be interested by the story, and as 
soon as Tyrell was free of his day's 
work he accompanied Philip to Ken- 
nington. He could only agree with 
what Philip had told him. The case 
was hopeless. 

"I'll take him into the hospital if 
you like," he said. "He can have a 
small ward." 

"Nothing would induce him to 
come." 

"You know, he may die any minute, 
or else he may get another attack of 
penumonia." 

Philip nodded. Dr. Tyrell made one 
or two suggestions, and promised to 
come again whenever Philip wanted 
him to. He left his address. When 
Philip went back to Cronshaw he 
found him quietly reading. He did 



304 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



not trouble to enquire what the doctor "I suppose nothing will induce you 

had said. to do any of the things Tyrell ad- 

"Are you satisfied now, dear boy?" vised?" 
he asked. "Nothing," smiled Cronshaw. 



LXXXV 



About a fortnight after this Philip, 
going home one evening after his day's 
work at the hospital, knocked at the 
door of Cronshaw's room. He got no 
answer and walked in. Cronshaw was 
lying huddled up on one side, and 
Philip went up to the bed. He did 
not know whether Cronshaw was 
asleep or merely lay there in one of 
his uncontrollable fits of irritability. 
He was surprised to see that his mouth 
was open. He touched his shoulder. 
Philip gave a cry of dismay. He 
slipped his hand under Cronshaw's 
shirt and felt his heart; he did not 
know what to do; helplessly, because 
he had heard of this being done, he 
held a looking-glass in front of his 
mouth. It startled him to be alone 
with Cronshaw. He had his hat and 
coat still on, and he ran down the 
stairs into the street; he hailed a cab 
and drove to Harley Street. Dr. Tyrell 
was in. 

"I say, would you mind coming at 
once? I think Cronshaw's dead." 

"If he is it's not much good my 
coming, is it?" 

"I should be awfully grateful if you 
would. I've got a cab at the door. It'll 
only take half an hour." 

Tyrell put on his hat. In the cab 
he asked him one or two questions. 

"He seemed no worse than usual 
when I left this morning," said Philip. 
"It gave me an awful shock when I 
went in just now. And the thought 
of his dying all alone. . . . D'you 
think he knew he was going to die?" 



Philip remembered what Cronshaw 
had said. He wondered whether at 
that last moment he had been seized 
with the terror of death. Philip im- 
agined himself in such a plight, know- 
ing it was inevitable and with no one, 
not a soul, to give an encouraging 
word when the fear seized him. 

"You're rather upset," said Dr. 
Tyrell. 

He looked at him with his bright 
blue eyes. They were not unsympa- 
thetic. When he saw Cronshaw, he 
said: 

"He must have been dead for some 
hours. I should think he died in his 
sleep. They do sometimes." 

The body looked shrunk and igno- 
ble. It was not like anything human. 
Dr. Tyrell looked at it dispassionately. 
With a mechanical gesture he took 
out his watch. 

"Well, I must be getting along. I'll 
send the certificate round. I suppose 
you'll communicate with the rela- 
tives." 

"I don't think there are any," said 
Philip. 

"How about the funeral?" 

"Oh, I'll see to that." 

Dr. Tyrell gave Philip a glance. He 
wondered whether he ought to offer 
a couple of sovereigns towards it. 
He knew nothing of Philip's circum- 
stances; perhaps he could well afford 
the expense; Philip might think it im- 
pertinent if he made any suggestion. 

"Well, let me know if there's any- 
thing I can do," he said. 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



305 



Philip and he went out together, 
parting on the doorstep, and Philip 
went to a telegraph office in order to 
send a message to Leonard Upjohn. 
Then he went to an undertaker whose 
shop he passed every day on his way 
to the hospital. His attention had been 
drawn to it often by the three words 
in silver lettering on a black cloth, 
which, with two model coffins, 
adorned the window: Economy, Ce- 
lerity, Propriety. They had always di- 
verted him. The undertaker was a 
little fat Jew with curly black hair, 
long and greasy, in black, with a large 
diamond ring on a podgy finger. He 
received Philip with a peculiar man- 
ner formed by the mingling of his 
natural blatancy vidth the subdued air 
proper to his calling. He quickly saw 
that Philip was very helpless and 
promised to send round a woman at 
once to perform the needful offices. 
His suggestions for the funeral were 
very magnificent; and Philip felt 
ashamed of himself when the under- 
taker seemed to think his objections 
mean. It was horrible to haggle on 
such a matter, and finally PhiHp con- 
sented to an expensiveness which he 
could ill afford. 

"I quite understand, sir," said the 
undertaker, "you don't want any show 
and that— Fm not a believer in osten- 
tation myself, mind you— but you 
want it done gentlemanly-like. You 
leave it to me, I'll do it as cheap as it 
can be done, 'aving regard to what's 
right and proper. I can't say more 
than that, can I?" 

Philip went home to eat his supper, 
and while he ate the woman came 
along to lay out the corpse. Presently 
a telegram arrived from Leonard Up- 
john. 

SHOCKED AND GRIEVED BEYOND MEAS- 
URE. REGRET CANNOT COME TONIGHT. 
DINING OUT. WITH YOU EARLY TO- 



MORROW. DEEPEST SYMPATHY. UP- 
JOHN. 

In a little while the woman knocked 
at the door of the sitting-room. 

"I've done now, sir. Will you come 
and look at 'im and see it's all right?" 

Philip followed her. Cronshaw was 
lying on his back, with his eyes closed 
and his hands folded piously across 
his chest. 

"You ought by rights to 'ave a few 
flowers, sir." 

"I'll get some tomorrow." 

She gave the body a glance of sat- 
isfaction. She had performed her job, 
and now she rolled down her sleeves, 
took off her apron, and put on her 
bonnet. Philip asked her how much 
he owed her. 

"Well, sir, some give me two and 
sixpence and some give me five shil- 
Hngs." 

Philip was ashamed to give her less 
than the larger sum. She thanked him 
with just so much effusiveness as was 
seemly in presence of the grief he 
might be supposed to feel, and left 
him. Philip went back into his sit- 
ting-room, cleared away the remains of 
his supper, and sat down to read 
Walsham's Surgery. He found it diffi- 
cult. He felt singularly nervous. When 
there was a sound on the stairs he 
jumped, and his heart beat violently. 
That thing in the adjoining room, 
which had been a man and now was 
nothing, frightened him. The silence 
seemed alive, as if some mysterious 
movement were taking place within 
it; the presence of death weighed upon 
these rooms, unearthly and terrifying: 
Philip felt a sudden horror for what 
had once been his friend. He tried to 
force himself to read, but presently 
pushed away his book in despair. 
What troubled him was the absolute 
futility of the life which had just 
ended. It did not matter if Cronshaw 



3o6 

was alive or dead. It would have been 
just as well if he had never lived. 
Philip thought of Cronshaw young; 
and it needed an effort of imagination 
to picture him slender, with a spring- 
ing step, and with hair on his head, 
buoyant and hopeful. Philip's rule of 
life, to follow one's instincts with due 
regard to the policeman round the cor- 
ner, had not acted very well there: 
it was because Cronshaw had done 
this that he had made such a lamen- 
table failure of existence. It seemed 
that the instincts could not be trusted. 
Philip was puzzled, and he asked him- 
self what rule of life was there, if that 
one was useless, and why people 
acted in one way rather than in an- 
other. They acted according to their 
emotions, but their emotions might be 
good or bad; it seemed just a chance 
whether they led to triumph or dis- 
aster. Life seemed an inextricable con- 
fusion. Men hurried hither and 
thither, urged by forces they knew not; 
and the purpose of it all escaped 
them; they seemed to hurry just for 
hurry ing's sake. 

Next morning Leonard Upjohn 
appeared with a small wreath of 
laurel. He was pleased with his idea 
of crowning the dead poet with 
this; and attempted, notwithstanding 
Philip's disapproving silence, to fix it 
on the bald head; but the wreath fitted 
grotesquely. It looked like the brim 
of a hat worn by a low comedian 
in a music-hall. 

"I'll put it over his heart instead," 
said Upjohn. 

"You've put it on his stomach," re- 
marked Philip. 

Upjohn gave a thin smile. 

"Only a poet knows where lies a 
poet's heart," he answered. 

They went back into the sitting- 
room, and Philip told him what ar- 
rangements he had made for the 
funeral. 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



"I hoped you've spared no ex- 
pense. I should like the hearse to be 
followed by a long string of empty 
coaches, and I should like the horses 
to wear tall nodding plumes, and 
there should be a vast number of 
mutes with long streamers on their 
hats. I like the thought of all those 
empty coaches." 

"As the* cost of the funeral will 
apparently fall on me and I'm not 
over flush just now, I've tried to make 
it as moderate as possible." 

"But, my dear fellow, in that case, 
why didn't you get him a pauper's 
funeral? There would have been 
something poetic in that. You have an 
unerring instinct for mediocrity." 

Philip flushed a little, but did not 
answer; and next day he and Upjohn 
followed the hearse in the one carriage 
which Philip had ordered. Lawson, 
unable to come, had sent a wreath; 
and Philip, so that the coffin should 
not seem too neglected, had bought a 
couple. On the way back the coach- 
man whipped up his horses. Philip 
was dog-tired and presently went to 
sleep. He was awakened by Upjohn's 
voice. 

"It's rather lucky the poems haven't 
come out yet. I think we'd better hold 
them back a bit and I'll write a pref- 
ace. I began thinking of it during the 
drive to the cemetery. I believe I can 
do something rather good. Anyhow 
I'll start with an article in The Satur- 
day." 

Phihp did not reply, and there was 
silence between them. At last Upjohn 
said: 

"I daresay I'd be wiser not to whittle 
away my copy. I think I'll do an article 
for one of the reviews, and then I 
can just print it afterwards as a pref- 
ace. 

Philip kept his eye on the month- 
lies, and a few weeks later it ap- 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



307 



peared. The article made something 
of a stir, and extracts from it were 
printed in many of the papers. It was 
a very good article, vaguely biographi- 
cal, for no one knew much of Cron- 
shaw's early life, but delicate, tender, 
and picturesque. Leonard Upjohn in 
his intricate style drew graceful little 
pictures of Cronshaw in the Latin 
Quarter, talking, writing poetry: Cron- 
shaw became a picturesque figure, an 
English Verlaine; and Leonard Up- 
john's coloured phrases took on a 
tremulous dignity, a more pathetic 
grandiloquence, as he described the 
sordid end, the shabby little room in 
Soho; and, with a reticence which was 
wholly charming and suggested a 
much greater generosity than modesty 
allowed him to state, the efforts he 
made to transport the poet to some 
cottage embowered with honeysuckle 
amid a flowering orchard. And the 
lack of sympathy, well-meaning but so 
tactless, which had taken the poet in- 
stead to the vulgar respectability of 
Kennington! Leonard Upjohn de- 
scribed Kennington with that re- 
strained humour which a strict ad- 
herence to the vocabulary of Sir 
Thomas Browne necessitated. With 
delicate sarcasm he narrated the last 
weeks, the patience with which Cron- 
shaw bore the well-meaning clumsiness 
of the young student who had ap- 
pointed himself his nurse, and the 
pitifulness of that divine vagabond in 
those hopelessly middle-class sur- 



roundings. Beauty from ashes, he 
quoted from Isaiah. It was a triumph 
of irony for that outcast poet to die 
amid the trappings of vulgar respect- 
ability; it reminded Leonard Upjohn 
of Christ among the Pharisees, and 
the analogy gave him opportunity for 
an exquisite passage. And then he told 
how a friend— his good taste did not 
suffer him more than to hint subtly 
who the friend was with such gracious 
fancies— had laid a laurel wreath on 
the dead poet's heart; and the beauti- 
ful dead hands had seemed to rest with 
a voluptuous passion upon Apollo's 
leaves, fragrant with the fragrance of 
art, and more green than jade brought 
by swart mariners from the manifold, 
inexplicable China. And, an admirable 
contrast, the article ended with a de- 
scription of the middle-class, ordinary, 
prosaic funeral of him who should 
have been buried like a prince or like 
a pauper. It was the crowning buffet, 
the final victory of Philistia over art, 
beauty, and immaterial things. 

Leonard Upjohn had never written 
anything better. It was a miracle of 
charm, grace, and pity. He printed all 
Cronshaw's best poems in the course 
of the article, so that when the vol- 
ume appeared much of its point was 
gone; but he advanced his own posi- 
tion a good deal. He was thenceforth 
a critic to be reckoned with. He had 
seemed before a little aloof; but there 
was a warm humanity about this ar- 
ticle which was infinitely attractive. 



LXXXVI 



I N T H E spring Philip, having finished 
his dressing in the out-patients' depart- 
ment, became an in-patients' clerk. 
This appointment lasted six months. 
The clerk spent every morning in the 



wards, first in the men's, then in the 
women's, with the house-physician; he 
wrote up cases, made tests, and passed 
the time of day with the nurses. On 
two afternoons a week the physician 



3o8 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



in charge went round with a little 
knot of students, examined the cases, 
and dispensed information. The work 
had not the excitement, the constant 
change, the intimate contact with real- 
ity, of the work in the out-patients' 
department; but Philip picked up a 
good deal of knowledge. He got on 
very well with the patients, and he 
was a little flattered at the pleasure 
they showed in his attendance on 
them. He was not conscious of any 
deep sympathy in their suflFerings, but 
he liked them; and because he put on 
no airs he was more popular with them 
than others of the clerks. He was 
pleasant, encouraging, and friendly. 
Like everyone connected with hospi- 
tals he found that male patients were 
more easy to get on with than female. 
The women were often querulous and 
ill-tempered. They complained bit- 
terly of the hard-worked nurses, who 
did not show them the attention they 
thought their right; and they were 
troublesome, ungrateful, and rude. 

Presently Philip was fortunate 
enough to make a friend. One morn- 
ing the house-physician gave him a 
new case, a man; and, seating himself 
at the bedside, Philip proceeded to 
write down particulars on the letter.' 
He noticed on looking at this that the 
patient was described as a journalist: 
his name was Thorpe Athelny, an 
unusual one for a hospital patient, and 
his age was forty-eight. He was suffer- 
ing from a sharp attack of jaundice, 
and had been taken into the ward on 
account of obscure symptoms which it 
seemed necessary to watch. He an- 
swered the various questions which it 
was Philip's duty to ask him in a 
pleasant, educated voice. Since he was 
lying in bed it was difficult to tell if 
he was short or tall, but his small 
head and small hands suggested that 
he was a man of less than average 
height. Philip had the habit of looking 



at people's hands, and Athelny^s as- 
tonished him: they were very small, 
with long, tapering fingers and beauti- 
ful, rosy finger-nails; they were very 
smooth and except for the jaundice 
would have been of a surprising white- 
ness. The patient kept them outside 
the bed-clothes, one of them slightly 
spread out, the second and third fin- 
gers together, and, while he spoke to 
Philip, seemed to contemplate them 
with satisfaction. With a twinkle in 
his eyes Philip glanced at the man's 
face. Notwithstanding the yellowness 
it was distinguished; he had blue eyes, 
a nose of an imposing boldness, 
hooked, aggressive but not clumsy, 
and a small beard, pointed and gray: 
he was rather bald, but his hair had 
evidently been quite fine, curling 
prettily, and he still wore it long. 

"I see you're a journalist," said 
Philip. "What papers d'you write for?" 

"I write for all the papers. You can- 
not open a paper without seeing some 
of my writing." 

There was one by the side of the 
bed and reaching for it he pointed 
out an advertisement. In large letters 
was the name of a firm well-known 
to Philip, Lynn and Sedley, Regent 
Street, London; and below, in type 
smaller but still of some magnitude, 
was the dogmatic statement: Procrasti- 
nation is the Thief of Time. Then a 
question, startling because of its rea- 
sonableness: Why not order today? 
There was a repetition, in large letters, 
like the hammering of conscience on 
a murderer's heart: Why not? Then, 
boldly: Thousands of pairs of gloves 
from the leading markets of the world 
at astounding prices. Thousands of 
pairs of stockings from the most re- 
liable manufacturers of the universe 
at sensational reductions. Finally the 
question recurred, but flung now like 
a challenging gauntlet in the lists: 
Why not order today? 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



"I'm the press representative of 
Lynn and Sedley." He gave a little 
wave of his beautiful hand. "To what 
base uses . . ." 

Philip went on asking the regula- 
tion questions, some a mere matter of 
routine, others artfully devised to lead 
the patient to discover things which 
he might be expected to desire to 
conceal. 

"Have you ever lived abroad?" 
asked Philip. 

"I was in Spain for eleven years." 

"What were you doing there?" 

"I was secretary of the English 
water company at Toledo." 

Philip remembered that Glutton 
had spent some months in Toledo, 
and the journalist's answer made him 
look at him with more interest; but 
he felt it would be improper to show 
this: it was necessary to preserve the 
distance between the hospital patient 
and the staff. When he had finished 
his examination he went on to other 
beds. 

Thorpe Athelny's illness was not 
grave, and, though remaining very 
yellow, he soon felt much better: he 
stayed in bed only because the phy- 
sician thought he should be kept un- 
der observation till certain reactions be- 
came normal. One day, on entering 
the ward, Philip noticed that Athelny, 
pencil in hand, was reading a book. 
He put it down when Philip came to 
his bed. 

"May I see what you're reading?" 
asked Philip, who could never pass a 
book without looking at it. 

Philip took it up and saw that it 
was a volume of Spanish verse, the 
poems of San Juan de la Cruz, and 
as he opened it a sheet of paper fell 
out. Philip picked it up and noticed 
that verse was written upon it. 

"You're not going to tell me you've 
been occupying your leisure in writ- 
ing poetry? That's a most improper 



309 

proceeding in a hospital patient." 

"I was trying to do some transla- 
tions. D'you know Spanish?" 

"No." 

"Well, you know all about San 
Juan de la Cruz, don't you?" 

"I don't indeed." 

"He was one of the Spanish 
mystics. He's one of the best poets 
they've ever had. I thought it would 
be worth while translating him into 
English." 

"May I look at your translation?" 

"It's very rough," said Athelny, but 
he gave it to Philip with an alacrity 
which suggested that he was eager 
for him to read it. 

It was written in pencil, in a fine 
but very peculiar handwriting, which 
was hard to read: it was just like 
black letter. 

"Doesn't it take you an awful time 
to write like that? It's wonderful." 

"I don't know why handwriting 
shouldn't be beautiful." 

Philip read the first verse : 

In an obscure night 

With anxious love inflamed 

O happy lot! 

Forth unohserved I went, 

My house heing now at rest . . . 

Philip looked curiously at Thorpe 
Athelny. He did not know whether 
he felt a little shy with him or was 
attracted by him. He was conscious 
that his manner had been slightly 
patronising, and he flushed as it struck 
him that Athelny might have thought 
him ridiculous. 

'^What an unusual name you've 
got," he remarked, for something to 
say. 

"It's a very old Yorkshire name. 
Once it took the head of my family 
a day's hard riding to make the cir- 
cuit of his estates, but the mighty are 
fallen. Fast women and slow horses." 



310 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



He was short-sighted and when he 
spoke looked at you with a pecuHar 
intensity. He took up his volume of 
poetry. 

"You should read Spanish/* he said. 
"It is a noble tongue. It has not the 
mellifluousness of Italian, Italian is 
the language of tenors and organ- 
grinders, but it has grandeur: it does 
not ripple like a brook in a garden, 
but it surges tumultuous like a mighty 
river in flood." 

His grandiloquence amused Philip, 
but he was sensitive to rhetoric; and 
he listened with pleasure while 
Athelny, with picturesque expressions 
and the fire of a real enthusiasm, de- 
scribed to him the rich deHght of 
reading Don Quixote in the original 
and the music, romantic, limpid, pas- 
sionate, of the enchanting Calderon. 

"I must get on with my work," said 
Philip presently. 

"Oh, forgive me, I forgot. I will 
tell my wife to bring me a photograph 
of Toledo, and I will show it you. 
Come and talk to me when you have 
the chance. You don't know what a 
pleasure it gives me." 

During the next few days, in mo- 
ments snatched whenever there was 
opportunity, Philip's acquaintance 
with the journalist increased. Thorpe 



Athelny was a good talker. He did not 
say brilliant things, but he talked in- 
spiringly, with an eager vividness 
which fired the imagination; Philip, 
living so much in a world of make- 
believe, found his fancy teeming with 
new pictures. Athelny had very good 
manners. He knew much more than 
Philip, both of the world and of books; 
he was a much older man; and the 
readiness of his conversation gave him 
a certain superiority; but he was in 
the hospital a recipient of charity, 
subject to strict rules; and he held 
himself between the two positions 
with ease and humour. Once Philip 
asked him why he had come to the 
hospital. 

"Oh, my principle is to profit by 
all the benefits that society provides. 
I take advantage of the age I live in. 
When I'm ill I get myself patched up 
in a hospital and I have no false 
shame, and I send my children to be 
educated at the board-school." 

"Do you really?" said Philip. 

"And a capital education they get 
too, much better than I got at Win- 
chester. How else do you think I 
could educate them at all? I've got 
nine. You must come and see them 
all when I get home again. Will you?" 

"I'd like to very much," said Philip. 



LXXXVII 



Ten days later Thorpe Athelny was 
well enough to leave the hospital. He 
gave Philip his address, and Philip 
promised to dine with him at one 
o'clock on the following Sunday. 
Athelny had told him that he lived 
in a house built by Inigo Jones; he 
had raved, as he raved over every- 
thing, over the balustrade of old oak; 
and when he came down to open the 



door for Philip he made him at once 
admire the elegant carving of the 
lintel. It was a shabby house, badly 
needing a coat of paint, but with the 
dignity of its period, in a little street 
between Chancery Lane and Hol- 
born, which had once been fashion- 
able but was now little better than a 
slum: there was a plan to pull it down 
in order to put up handsome offices; 



OF HUMAN BONDAGE 



311 



meanwhile the rents were small, and 
Athelny was able to get the two upper 
floors at a price which suited his in- 
come. Phihp had not seen him up 
before and was surprised at his small 
size; he was not more than five feet 
and five inches high. He was dressed 
fantastically in blue linen trousers of 
the sort worn by working men in 
France, and a very old brown velvet 
coat; he wore a bright red sash round 
his waist, a low collar, and for tie a 
flowing bow of the kind used by the 
comic Frenchman in the pages of 
Punch. He greeted Philip with en- 
thusiasm. He began talking at once of 
the house and passed his hand lov- 
ingly over the balusters. 

"Look at it, feel it, it's like silk. 
What a miracle of grace! And in five 
years the house-breaker will sell it for 
firewood." 

He insisted on taking Philip into a 
room on the first floor, where a man 
in shirt sleeves, a blousy woman, and 
three children were having their Sun- 
day dinner. 

"I've just brought this gentleman in 
to show him your ceiling. Did you 
ever see anything so wonderful How 
are you, Mrs. Hodgson? This is Mr. 
Carey, who looked after me when I 
was in the hospital." 

"Come in, sir," said the man. "Any 
friend of Mr. Athelny's is welcome. 
Mr. Athelny shows the ceiling to all 
his friends. And it don't matter what 
we're doing, if we're in bed or if Fm 
'aving a wash, in 'e comes." 

Philip could see that they looked 
upon Athelny as a little queer; but 
they liked him none the less and they 
listened open-mouthed while he dis- 
coursed with his impetuous fluency 
on the beauty of the seventeenth- 
century ceiling. 

"What a crime to pull this dowTi, 
eh, Hodgson? You're an influential 
citizen, why don't you write to the 



papers and protest?" 

The man in shirt sleeves gave a 
laugh and said to Philip : 

"Mr. Athelny will *ave his Httle 
joke. They do say these 'ouses are 
that insanitory, it's not safe to live in 
them." 

"Sanitation be damned, give me 
art," cried Athelny. "Fve got nine 
children and they thrive on bad drains. 
No, no, Fm not going to take any risk. 
None of your new-fangled notions for 
me! When I move from here Fm going 
to make sure the drains are bad before 
I take anything." 

There was a knock at the door, and 
a little fair-haired girl opened it. 

"Daddy, mummy says, do stop talk- 
ing and come and eat your dinner." 

"This is my third daughter," said 
Athelny, pointing to her with a dra- 
matic forefinger. "She is called Maria 
del Pilar, but she answers more will- 
ingly to the name of Jane. Jane, your 
nose wants blowing." 

"I haven't got a hanky, daddy." 

"Tut, tut, child," he answered, as 
he produced a vast, brilliant bandanna, 
"what do you suppose the Almighty 
gave you fingers for?" 

They went upstairs, and Philip was 
taken into a room with walls panelled 
in dark oak. In the middle was a 
narrow table of teak on trestle legs, 
with two supporting bars of iron, of 
the kind called in Spain mesa de 
hieraje. They were to dine there, for 
two places were laid, and there were 
two large arm-chairs, with broad flat 
arms of oak and leathern backs, and 
leathern seats. They were severe, ele- 
gant, and uncomfortable. The only 
other piece of furniture was a 
hargueno, elaborately ornamented with 
gilt iron-work, on a stand of ec- 
clesiastical design roughly but very 
finely carved. There stood on this two 
or three lustre plates, much broken 
but rich in colour; and on the walls 



312 



MR. MAUGHAM HIMSELF 



were old masters of the Spanish 
school in beautiful though dilapidated 
frames: though gruesome in subject, 
ruined by age and bad treatment, and 
second rate in their conception, they 
had a glow of passion. There was 
nothing in the room of any value, 
but the effect was lovely. It was 
magnificent and yet austere. Philip 
felt that it offered the very spirit of 
old Spain. Athelny was in the middle 
of showing him the inside of the 
hargueiio, with its beautiful ornamen- 
tation and secret drawers, when a tall 
girl, with two plaits of bright brown 
hair hanging down her back, came 
in. 

"Mother says dinner's ready and 
waiting and Fm to bring it in as soon 
as you sit down." 

"Come and shake hands with Mr. 
Carey, Sally.'* He turned to Philip. 
"Isn't she enormous? She's my eldest. 
How old are you, Sally?" 

"Fifteen, father, come next June." 

"I christened her Maria del Sol, 
because she was my first child and 
I dedicated her to the glorious sun of 
Castile; but her mother calls her Sally 
and her brother Pudding-Face." 

The girl smiled shyly, she had even, 
white teeth, and blushed. She was 
well set-up, tall for her age, with 
pleasant gray eyes and a broad fore- 
head. She had red cheeks. 

"Go and tell your mother to come 
in and shake hands with Mr. Carey 
before he sits down." 

"Mother says she'll come in after 
dinner. She h